Why is Florida the lightning capital of the US?

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention dubs Florida the ‘Lightning Capital’ of United States

Kelsie Sandoval
New York
Friday 30 July 2021 23:10
Tourists struck by lightning

A woman and her niece are the latest people to get struck by lightning in Florida waters. Over the past few weeks, a couple from South Carolina were struck by lightning, and before that, a teenager from Georgia suffered the same fate in another area.

It’s no coincidence these cases occurred within weeks in Florida. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention dubs Florida the “Lightning Capital” of the United States, with over 2,000 lightning-related injuries occurring in the past 50 years.

While the odds of being struck by lightning are low, the chances go up if you’re in Florida. The state is surrounded by water and is located where storms pummel through and the state sees around 70 to 100 thunderstorms a year, according to Florida Disaster, a government website.

Ben Abo, a member of the medical care team that took care of the woman and her niece said water is the worst place to get struck by lightning. "The secondary effects if you’re unconscious on top of not breathing, you can drown and things like that," Abo told Newsweek. "Really, it’s the worst situation to be out on the water."

Lightning strike injuries aren’t limited to Florida, though. There’s been an uptick in lightning strikes in India and climate change may be to blame.

From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, India recorded 18.5 lightning strikes, up from 13.8 million from the previous year, which is a 34% increase. In the latest recorded year, the lighting killed 1,697 people.

A study that hasn’t been peer-reviewed, lightning cases are projected to increase 10-25 per cent and 15-50 per cent by the end of this century in India and climate change is driving that increase.

Another study, said that warming planet is contributing to more rates of intense lightning strikes.

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