TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay area is no stranger to frequent lightning strikes. Some cause damage and, unfortunately, some are fatal.
There has been a total of 12 deaths due to lightning strikes in the United States so far in 2022. One of those was in Florida earlier this year.
Most recently, four people were struck at the White House. Three of the four individuals died.
It is not uncommon for one strike to have fatal results on two people at once. There have been 14 incidents in the past 10 years where two people died from a single strike.
However, it is much more rare to have more than two die from a lightning strike.
According to the National Lightning Safety Council, before the White House incident, 18 years had passed since three people died from one strike. It has been almost 20 years since four people have died and it has been more than 28 years since there was a five-fatality event.
Unfortunately, all of these events had one thing in common: They were all taking shelter under a tree as they were struck.
Being under a tree is a very dangerous spot during a thunderstorm. As the tree is struck, the electricity travels through the trunk. But instead of going into the ground, it spreads out on the surface of the ground.
If someone is standing under or near the tree, the electricity can then travel through the person from the ground. It is always best to seek shelter in a sturdy, well-built building.