Lightning less common in fall, but just as deadly

By John Gaughan - Chief meteorologist
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Thunderstorms are somewhat rare in fall and winter -- we only see about 12 thunderstorm days from October 1 to April 30.

In other words there is only a 6% chance of hearing a thunderstorm on any given day Oct. 1. By comparison, in July, there is a 55% chance of hearing thunder on any given day.

But whether we are in our season of afternoon storms or not, if you hear thunder, it's time to head inside. Then wait 30 minutes past the last rumble of thunder to go back outside.

Lightning facts:

  • Lightning can strike 6-10 miles away from the parent thunderhead cloud.
  • 85% of those killed by lightning are men.
  • In Florida, the more likely place to be struck is near or at the beach.
  • The lightning capital of the World is in Africa, where lightning strikes are far more frequent than what we see here in Jacksonville.
  • The lightning capital of the United States is in the Tampa Bay area.
  • On average, the number of lightning fatalities in the United States has dropped significantly over the past 50 years. From nearly 80 a year to just 27 deaths last year.

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