Contrary to popular legend, central Florida is not the “lightning capital of the world.” That distinction belongs to Rwanda, Africa, with 2.5 times more strikes than Central Florida. In fact, the Orlando-Tampa area is 14th in a list of strike capitals.* However, even 14th in the world is still Number One in the United States, and Central Florida – from Tampa to Titusville – is nicknamed “Lightning Alley” for a good reason.

We’ve grown up with many myths about lightning. Most people believe that if you can’t see lightning, it can’t strike you. Or that you don’t have to go in until it starts raining. However, if you hear a rumble of thunder, you are close enough to be struck. Lightning can strike as far away as 10 miles, and there is still danger up to 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.

Since approximately “25 million cloud-to-ground flashes strike the United States every year, it is impractical for the [National Weather Service] to warn of every potentially dangerous lightning event. The key to safety is individual education and responsibility.*

There are “two exceptions:  1) when adults are in charge of groups of children, and 2) situations where responsibility is assumed by organizers and operators of facilities where large crowds are expected, such as sporting or entertainment events.”*

Youth sporting events are particularly susceptible to lightning, because the non-professional adults in charge may not be aware of the dangers and prevention, and children depend on them for their safety. There should be established safety procedures for weather events. Immediate treatment is necessary, and victims do not retain the charge, as some people think.

When lightning strikes and causes injuries, they are often unseen and potentially last for a lifetime. If you or a child has been injured by lightning and have questions concerning liability, please call us at 386-258-3453. Your consultation is free. See below for more facts about lightning.

*Lightning Injuries, Mary Ann Cooper, Christopher J. Andrews, and Ronald L. Holle