What are the odds? 6 quirky facts about lightning


Our Red Cross personal disaster assistance volunteers recently responded to a house fire in Waterloo caused by a strike of lightning.

When there is a personal disaster such as this, Red Cross volunteers will help set the family up in a hotel room and make sure they have the basic necessities that they immediately need; blankets, food and personal hygiene products.
Dark purple storm clouds and a bolt of white lightning hits a power pole
Image: @noaa / unsplash

This lightning strike got me wondering...what are the odds of being struck by lightning?

  1. Environment Canada says that lightning is one of the most common sources of weather-related property damage.​ However, it also says that the odds of a person being struck are about one in less than a million - so you’re more likely to be hit by lightning than win the lottery.
  2. Lightning strikes kill or injure an estimated 120 to 190 people each year in Canada. In an average year, ten people die from lightning.
  3. Lightning kills more Canadians than hail, wind, rain and tornadoes combined
  4. A lightning bolt carries up to 100 million volts of electricity.
  5. According to a study that looked at 30 years of lightning strikes: 84% of victims are male, and lightning strikes most often on the weekends and on Wednesdays between 2p.m. and 6p.m.
  6. Contrary to the popular saying, lightning can strike twice. In one storm the Empire State Building in New York was struck 15 times in 15 minutes.
  7. If you count the seconds between a flash of lightning and a thunder clap, you can tell approximately how close the lightning is to you: each second representing about 300 metres.

 On that note, our tip of the day: when the thunder roars, head indoors.

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