lightning striking a hill with a purple sky

What Are the Chances of Being Struck By Lightning?

Being struck by lightning sucks. At least I would imagine so. I’ve personally never been struck by lightning, but the thought of it terrifies me. According to howstuffworks.com, a single bolt of lightning contains about 5 billion volts of electricity, roughy the equivalent of electricity needed to make you look like Jimmy Neutron for the next 50 years.

We’ve all experiences thunderstorms, and have likely even been caught in them before. You’re probably thinking to yourself the chances of being struck by lightning are next to nothing. Well, according to the United States National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 1.22 million. It seems very unlikely… until you consider how many years you will live, and how many opportunities lightning will have to get you.

What are the chances of being struck by lightning in your lifetime?

In the United States, the odds of being struck by lightning in you lifetime are 1 in 15,559, based on the current average life expectancy of 78.54 years. Let’s say you make it to 100 years old. Now we’re talking a 1 in 1,222 chance of being struck. All you’re doing by extending your life is giving lightning another chance to get you.

What are the chances of being killed by a lightning strike?

Between 2009 and 2018, the NWS recorded 27 deaths per year caused by lightning strikes. This means that if you are struck, there is a 10% chance you will die. The odds that you will be struck and killed by lightning in you lifetime are 1 in 155,590.

The good news, however, is that lightning strikes and lightning fatalities are going down, due to safety regulations, technology updates and medical advancements. In the 20 years prior to this study (1989-2008) there was an average of 51 deaths from lightning strike per year – almost double the most recent 10 years. It’s also fairly reasonable to assume that safety will continue to be regulated, technology will continue to upgrade, and medical treatments will continue to advance as our lives go on, resulting in even fewer lightning strike deaths moving forward. I think we’re probably pretty safe from lightning. For now.

Who knows what global warming has in store for us.

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