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Lightning deaths in Florida reduced in 2017, half the fatalities than 2016

Posted at 4:38 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 16:38:19-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Weather officials say stricter safety policies have reduced the number of fatal lightning strikes in Florida.

In a Sun Sentinel report , National Weather Service officials said lightning killed 16 people in the United States last year, including five deaths in Florida.

Florida typically leads the country with the most lightning fatalities each year. Weather service lightning safety specialist John Jensenius said Florida has the most lightning per square mile (2.5 square kilometers) of any state in the U.S.

Jensenius said Florida also has a large number of people working outside and participating in outdoor recreational activities.

Officials said improved medical care and greater awareness of lightning dangers have reduced the number of fatalities. Many Florida school districts have installed lightning detectors and implemented policies that require students to seek shelter if thunderstorm warnings are issued.