Lightning is one of the primary killers from thunderstorms. Lightning does not require a severe thunderstorm warning. ANY storm can produce lightning (severe or non-severe). Lightning also strikes with little or no warning. Many lightning deaths occur when it seems the storm is “winding down and the rain has slackened or stopped”. For these reasons (produced from any thunderstorm / little or no warning / thinking storm is over), lightning is responsible for dozens of deaths each year. Storm deaths from flooding and tornadoes are often heard about more partially because several deaths often occur at once and the storm event is often on people’s mind. Lightning tends to kill one person at a time (although multiple deaths at once do occur) and can occur from ordinary storms that are not on people’s mind as much.

People commonly go outside during a thunderstorm such as to go to the car, participate in outdoor activities or to walk to another location. The thinking can be, “getting struck by lightning is like the odds of winning the lottery… it is not going to happen to me”. This can make people feel more comfortable when outside during a storm given that the odds are very low of getting struck. The threat from lightning can not be visually seen like with many of the cases with other weather events (tornado seen approaching, flooding seen in road) thus the victim has basically no time to make a decision to avoid lightning. The decision to avoid lightning has to be made before going outside or being stuck outside. This can be difficult to do but can mean the difference between life and death since a great percentage of lightning deaths occur outside (although a few deaths occur inside also such as when lightning travels through plumbing or electrical wire).