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The Villages
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Local lightning expert to discuss strikes at home in The Villages

Good News! A record was set last year as only 11 fatalities were recorded in the US breaking the 2017 record low of 16 deaths. Ten of the 11 were male. We have come a long way since the early 1940s where the U.S. typically experienced over 400 fatalities a year. The awareness campaigns of numerous organizations over the years to educate the public about the hazard of lightning is paying off.

Florida continues to be the Lightning Capital of the Nation. Of the 11 fatalities four occurred in Florida – a roofer and two on a beach. The fourth occurred on a golf course. In fact, we had three fatalities on a golf course last year (Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) after going three years with none.

Here in The Villages the number of days with lightning was down to 95 – below the eight-year average of 108 lightning days. The most significant lightning experience occurred in the Village of Monarch Grove in June when a home took a direct hit opening a two-foot hole in the roof but fortunately no ensuing fire. There were seven nearby nearly simultaneous strikes totaling 300,000 amps. About 30 homes experienced lightning induced surges to appliances and electronics causing several thousand dollars in damage. There were no reported injuries.

The Village Public Safety Depart was at Owen Steeles home after the lightning strike
The Village Public Safety Department was at the home in the Village of Monarch Grove after the lightning strike.

Twenty homes have been either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable due to direct lightning strikes since 2004 and none since 2020.

The Villages Public Safety Department responded to 17 lightning events in 2021 – four less than the previous year. Two homes experienced holes in the roof but no fire, several experienced electronic damage including one where the thermostat was blown off the wall, while others experienced strikes to nearby trees.

Lighting safety will be the subject of the 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17 Property Owners Association (POA), meeting at the Laurel Manor Regional Recreation Center. You do not need to be a POA member to attend only a Village ID.

Villager Len Hathaway is a local lightning expert and will be speaking at his week’s POA meeting.

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