Tag Archives: lightning fatalities

28 Lightning Fatalities To Date

Tonight I was introduced to the late Jesse Watlington, a Fort Myers, Fla. sixth-grader who succumbed to a lightning strike on Oct. 3, 2012 (Yes, lightning strikes year round). As the story goes, Watlington, one of the smallest players on his middle school football team, was the first to take to the field for football practice. Moments later, he was struck. His teammates, while they felt an electric surge, went unharmed.

Watlington is the 28th lightning fatality in 2012.

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Photo courtesy National Weather Service

A number that is way too high, which leaves me wondering – how can lightning safety education curriculums and lightning prevention systems become more prevalent throughout our nation?

It’s my belief that education juxtaposed with prevention systems will thwart mothers and fathers the heartache of planning funerals for their children, such as the Watlingtons and the Weisbrods did before them.

I hope to have a hand in making that happen – won’t you join me?

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Record Low for Lightning Deaths in 2011

According to an article published by The Washington Post entitled “Record low for lightning deaths in 2011 but tornado deaths third highest; why the disparity?,”

lightning deaths were lowest in the 71-years of record keeping. Just 26 people were killed by lightning in 2011, which is amazing considering the frequency of violent severe weather outbreaks across the U.S. By comparison, 551 people were killed by tornadoes in 2011, the most since 1950 and third highest on record according to NOAA.”

Why so few lightning deaths?

The article credits “a successful public education campaign,” as stated by John Jensenius, the National Weather Service‘s lightning expert.

“In large part, the reduction in lightning fatalities is due to the efforts of many people and organizations who help educate the public on the dangers of lightning and make the public more aware of our lightning safety recommendations,” he said.

When I started this blog in September of 2008, I wrote, “It is in this weblog that I plan to show North Jersey’s progression of installing the lightning detection as well as promoting awareness.” Today, in January of 2012, I am proud to say that I have had a hand in changing the lightning death statistics. I’d like to think that this blog – despite its small stature compared to the vast Internet world, has made a difference.

I’d also like to thank you, the reader, because without you reading (and learning), those statistics wouldn’t have changed.

And, of course, I’d like to thank Lee Weisbrod. This new finding further proves that his death was not in vain.

Here’s to keeping lightning deaths at a minimum…

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