Lightning is the second most deadly weather phenomenon in the United States, second only to floods. On average, sixty to seventy deaths per year are attributed to lightning nationally. In Idaho the average is less than one per year. Individuals struck by lightning are subject to severe injuries or death.
The majority of lightning victims are children and young men engaged in work or recreation. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors, most often in the summer months and during the afternoon and early evening. People under or near tall trees, in or around water, or on hills or mountain tops are particularly at risk.
Idaho experiences thousands of strikes annually and most pose little hazard to individuals. There were, however, 26 fatalities due to lightning in Idaho from 1959 through 2006. Lightning is also a major contributor to the ignition of wildland fires in the State. Of particular concern are “dry thunderstorms” or “dry lightning storms” where lightning strikes are accompanied by high winds but with no rain to extinguish or mitigate resulting fires.