Lightning bolts killed 86 people in 28 states last year, the highest figure in 10 years, and injured 365 people, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday.
The 86 deaths, though the highest number of fatalities in 10 years, was below the 30-year average of 96, but 1987's 365 injuries was nearly 50 percent higher than the 30-year average of 250 hurt by lightning."Lightning apparently does not command the respect it deserves as a dangerous killer," said E.W. Friday, director of the NOAA's National Weather Service.
Lightning is the second leading weather-related killer, behind flash floods, Friday said.
Three of last year's lightning victims were killed in their tents while camping last July at Darien Lake, in Genesee, N.Y. Three golfers died in the same month at the Warriors Path State golf course in Kingsport, Tenn., when they took shelter under a hilltop tree.
Friday recommended sitting out a lightning storm in a large building or an automobile.