Lightning Facts and Figures

Lightning Facts and Figures 1

Summer time is thunderstorm season and that means you need to be on the lookout for lightning. It is estimated that lightning flashes occur an average of 2.34 million times a year in Canada. That means there are 2.34 million chances each year for an injury or loss due to lightning strikes. During the summer months, that is one chance every 3 seconds.

While it might be a little late in the season, here are a few facts and figures to acquaint yourself with as lightning season draws to its close:

  • Lightning is most likely to strike between 1 pm and 6pm
  • July has the highest number of lightning strikes in Canada
  • Lightning is attracted to tall, pointy, isolated objects
  • There are multiple types of lighting strikes, the two most common are ground-to-cloud, cloud-to-cloud
  • Cloud-to-ground lightning is the most dangerous kind of lightning, but cloud-to-cloud is the most common
  • Lightning doesn’t just occur during thunderstorms, it is also known to occur during dust storms, forest fires and volcanic eruptions
  • “Sheet lightning” is a term used to describe flashes that illuminate an entire cloud, but the bolt itself is nowhere to be found
  • Each year 100-150 Canadians are injured by lightning strikes; there is an average of 10 fatalities per year
  • A person who is struck by lightning carries no electrical charge, so it is fine to assist them and perform first aid/CPR as necessary.
  • Metal does not attract lightning; it simply acts as a conduit.
  • When indoors during a thunderstorm, you should unplug any electronics you want to keep safe. Power surges are common in such a charged atmosphere.
  • If trapped outside during a storm, you should seek shelter in a low laying area, not near a tall tree or lone standing structure that is more likely to attract lightning.

Source – Environment Canada: Lightning Safety

Photo – © Sondem –

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