Lightning safety: What you need to know

Warm weather that lures us outside also increases potential danger of lightning when thunderstorms approach.

Lightning strikes about 25 million times a year in the United States and kills an average of 47 people, according to the National Weather Service.

"Although most lightning occurs in the summer, people can be struck at any time of year," according to the NWS.

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In 2019, there were 20 reported lighting fatalities in the U.S., with three deaths recorded in Texas and Florida, the most of all states.

"While most lightning casualties occur at the beginning of an approaching storm, a significant number of lightning deaths occur after the thunderstorm has passed," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "If thunder is heard, then the storm is close enough for a lightning strike."

Lightning strikes in the U.S. about 25 million times each year, according to the National Weather Service.

Lightning strikes in the U.S. about 25 million times each year, according to the National Weather Service. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Officials recommend taking shelter at least 30 minutes after last hearing the sound of thunder before going outside.

Here are some other tips from the National Weather Service to how to stay safe around lighting:

--If you are outdoors and hear thunder, move as quickly as possible to a "substantial" building that has electricity or plumbing, or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with the windows completely up.

Lightning safety tips from the National Weather Service.

Lightning safety tips from the National Weather Service. (NOAA)

--If indoors, stay off corded phones, computers, or other electronic equipment that provide direct contact with electricity.

--In addition to avoiding plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets, officials recommend staying away from windows and doors, and not lying on concrete floors or leaning on concrete walls.

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Based on a review of cases from 2006 to 2018, NOAA said that almost two-thirds of all lightning-related deaths occurred during recreational events outside.

"The common belief that golfers are responsible for the greatest number of lightning deaths was shown to be a myth," John S. Jensenius Jr., a lightning safety specialist for the National Lightning Safety Council, said in a March 2019 report. "During this 13-year period, fishermen accounted for more than three times as many fatalities as golfers, while beach activities and camping each accounted for about twice as many deaths as golf."

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For those caught outside with no safe shelter available, officials offer these tips to help reduce the risk of being struck:

-- Never lie flat on the ground or shelter under an isolated tree.

-- Never take shelter on a cliff or rocky underhang, and stay off elevated areas.

-- When thunderstorms approach, get out of and stay away from bodies of water.

-- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as power lines and barb wire fences.

In 2019, the most lighting activity was recorded in Texas, with just over 16 million lightning counts, according to a list compiled by lightning detection network Earth Networks. The lightning count includes in-cloud flashes and cloud-to-ground flashes.

Fox News' James Rogers contributed to this report.