June 24-30, 2012 is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Help us spread the "safety" word!                       ltg icon

The Wisconsin Emergency Management folks and thier ReadyWisconsin initiative have a press release found here.

National severe weather statistics, inlcuding lightning fatalities, can be found here.

In Wisconsin, for the period of 1982 through 2011, we had a reported 23 lightning fatalities and 208 people injured. To view lighting-related information and graphics for Wisconsin, click here.


Costliest Lightning Events in Wisconsin ($1M)

Cost $
Milwaukee Co.
Aug 24, 2007-
11:15am CDT
14.0 M
Several lightning strikes to several buildings caused structural fires and power outages. Storm was a super cell that did produce tornadoes and large hail. No deaths/injuries reported.
Marathon Co.
Oct 6, 2007-
Morning hours
8.3 M
Lightning hit power plant (this is the 2nd event; first was August 2006) Power plant is out of service until early 2008. No deaths/injuries reported.
Marathon Co.
Aug 23, 2008-
2:29am CDT
8.0 M
Lightning caused a fire at the Gordon Aluminum Industries in Schofield. The fire destroyed a row of offices and generated enough heat to incapacitate nearby machinery. In addition to fire damage at the plant, $300 M worth of unfinished aluminum had varying degrees of corrosion as a result. 
The lightning strike rattled residences in the area. A blown gas main valve near the source of the fire served to fuel the blaze. 
Waukesha Co.
Nov 5, 2007-
8:00pm CDT
1.1 M
Hail associated storm. Lightning struck a home in the Town of Merton (1.7m north of Hartland in Waukesha Co.) just east of Beaver Lake. The resultant fire quickly burned the expensive home to the ground. No one was home at the time. No deaths/injuries reported
Milwaukee Co.
Jul 21, 1997-
3:00am CDT
1.0 M
Lightning caused a massive fire at a towing business on the south side of Milwaukee. The building and its contents were a total loss. No deaths/injuries reported.
Kenosha Co. 
Sept 29, 2002-
6:00am CDT
1.0 M
Lightning struck a cork-producing business and probably produced sparks that ignited insulation in the attic. A slow burning fire resulted, and eventually became a major fire. No deaths/injuries reported.
Racine Co.
Jul 6, 2003-
11:40am CDT
1.0 M
Storm produced powerful downbursts and 4 weak tornadoes. Lightning struck a home in Middleton, resulting in roof/attic fire. No deaths/injuries reported as a cause of the lightning.

Below is excellent material found on the Birmingham, AL, National Weather Service Forecast Office's web site.  Their page neatly summarizes lightning safety!  The introductory paragraph was modified for Wisconsin.

Introduction to Lightning Safety 

In the United States each year, there are about 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. While lightning can be fascinating to watch, it is extremely dangerous. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, between the years 1990 and 2003, there were 756 lightning deaths in the United States. Bringing that down to the local level, Wisconsin had 12 reported lightning deaths during that time.  While lightning fatalities across the country have come down significantly in recent years, the problem is, there are still people who wait too long to seek safe shelter.  We continue to urge people to follow the motto, "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors . . .and stay there at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder."

Weekly Lightning Safety Messages

Here are the topics for each day of the business week to consider:

Monday, June 25

An Introduction to Lightning Safety

Tuesday, June 26

The Science of Lightning

Wednesday, June 27

Outdoor Lightning Safety

Thursday, June 28

Safe Shelter and Indoor Lightning Safety

Friday, June 29

Medical Aspects of Lightning


Lightning Safety Brochure

Our Lightning Safety Team has prepared a new lightning safety brochure, Lightning Safety for You and Your Family. A printable file version is available on the National Weather Service Lightning Safety Awareness web site, along with a wealth of safety information, statistics, and posters.

Additional reference material on Lightning

All the information you need to know about lightning

Lightning Fatality Statistics:  By the Charts

Lightning: Facts, Myths and Misnomers

Leon the Lightning Lion coloring book  (for kids)

Toolkit for communities and counties   

Lightning Safety for Large Venues 

Lightning Safety Brochure



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