Odds of getting struck by lightning - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Odds of getting struck by lightning

Lightning is the number two storm related killer. Lightning is the number two storm related killer.

Lightning from thunderstorms killed a boy and injured another in Butler County.

It happened Friday night when storms swept through south Alabama.

Getting hit by lightning may be rare, but it does happen. The National Weather Service said the odds are very low. The chances of getting struck by lightning are about one in one million in a year.

It only took one lightning strike to hit two boys as they played together in a field. Butler County officials said the bolt struck a tree and shot into the children. One of the boys died at the hospital, the other remains in stable condition at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. The boys' names have not been released.

Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden offered words of sympathy for the boys' family. "That's one of them calls that you never want to get. It's tragic for the community, tragic for the whole county. Hearts go out to the family and the friends around," said Harden.

Getting struck by lightning is rare but it is the number two storm related killer in the United States. On average, it's more deadly than hurricanes or tornados.

There are a few things people can do to reduce the odds of getting struck by lightning.

1. Stay away from water, open spaces, and high ground if you are outside during a storm.

2. Don't go under a tree or near a metal fence.

3. Staying indoors is the safest option, but unplug appliances, computers, TVs, and other electronics.

4. Also, stay away from the telephone. Lightning can travel through phone lines.

If you are in a vehicle enclosed with a metal top, the people inside should be safe. Golf carts, convertibles, and any other open cab vehicles are unsafe.

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