New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns

A new study published today by the National Weather Service is loaded with statistics on lightning deaths in the United States. For instance: did you know most lightning deaths occur during what is deemed "leisure activity?" Or that 82% of people killed by lightning are male?

Top image by José Eugenio Gómez Rodríguez

New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns

Regarding leisure activities, you'll probably be surprised to hear that golf, in fact, accounted for surprisingly few lighting deaths, with a total of just 8 fatalities between 2006 and 2012. Surprisingly few, at least (what with the holding a metal rod in the air), in relation to bike riding (10 deaths), soccer (12 deaths), camping (15 deaths) or fishing, which was the clear front-runner with 26 recorded deaths.

“When people think of lightning deaths, they usually think of golf,” said John Jensienius, a lightning safely specialist with the NWS; but "NOAA has made a concerted effort to raise lightning awareness in the golf community since we began the campaign in 2001," he said, "and we believe our outreach has made a huge difference since lightning-related deaths on golf courses have decreased by 75 percent.”

Other major takeaways:

New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns

This chart speaks for itself, but here's what the report had to say:

Possible explanations for [male fatalities far exceeding female fatalities] are that males are unaware of all the dangers associated with lightning, are more likely to be in vulnerable situations, are unwilling to be inconvenienced by the threat of lightning, are in situations that make it difficult to get to a safe place in a timely manner, don't react quickly to the lightning threat, or any combination of these explanations.

NOAA, in so many words: "Men are idiots."


New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns

July, which is easily the best of the Summer months, is also the deadliest, as measured by lightning-deaths.


New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns

Men between the ages of 20 and 29 who love leisure pay with their lives. Especially on Saturdays:

New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns


New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns

Soccer: deadlier than golf ™.


New statistics on lightning deaths in the U.S. reveal weird patterns

All work (and daily routine) and no play makes for fewer lightning-deaths.

Check out the full report here.