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Paul M. Walsh/AP

Lightning Kills Five in Under a Week

July 14, 2008 10:43 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff

This summer's lightning season has caused the deaths of five young people in less than a week, reports the Associated Press.

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July is a peak month for lightning activity and is also a time when people are on vacation and outside, said John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert at the National Weather Service.

But as to why so many young people were killed in just a few days, "I don't have an answer for that,'" Jensenius said in the AP report. "It's all very sad."

The recent victims included Landon Dillars, 16, of Macon, Ga., who was struck on July 3 while bike riding at a Colorado summer camp.

Korey Moore, 19, of Swansea, S.C., was killed while riding a personal watercraft on July 5, and the next day, Stephanie Dawn Kirpes, 23, of Woodbridge, Va., was struck while jogging on the shore of Virginia Beach.

On July 7, two 16-year-olds died of lightning: Ben Richter on his family farm at Watertown, Wis., and Lucien Ellis of Sampson County, N.C., who was in a beach hut.

The National Weather Service has declared June 22-June 28, 2008 "Lightning Safety Week" to spotlight the danger.

According to the agency, lightning killed 45 people in the United States in 2007, and 8 have died from lightning strikes so far in 2008. Of those victims, 98 pecent were struck outdoors.

There are some helpful tips that can reduce your chances of being struck by lightning.

“Instinct often leads to danger,” writes the Globe and Mail. For example, trees may seem like a good shelter from lightning, but they actually can become a “natural lightning rod.”

Headline Link: Spate of lightning-associated deaths

Related Topics: Lightning safety tips; human lightning rod

Lightning safety
Roy Sullivan

Reference: Weather

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