ASK TOM: Odds of being struck by lightning vs. winning the lottery

Dear Tom,
A recent news story claimed the odds of being struck by lightning were much greater than the odds of winning the Powerball lottery. This incorrectly implies both situations are chance events. While that might be true for the lottery, there certainly are actions you can take to reduce your chances of being struck by lightning.
Jean SmilingCoyote, Chicago

 
Dear Jean,
You are correct. The National Weather Service has released U.S. lightning death statistics from the period 2006-2012 that indicate males accounted for 82 percent of the fatalities and females only 18 percent. Among other factors, males are more likely to be in vulnerable outdoor situations when lightning threatens and are less willing to be inconvenienced by lightning safety precautions. Bottom line: Recognize that lightning is deadly and act appropriately.

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