What are the odds of a building getting hit anyway?

There are satellites that monitor lightning activity all over the world. This activity is charted and provides statistics that tell just how often lightning strikes any given area. At any given moment there are 2000 thunderstorms happening somewhere in the world. The earth experiences 100 lightning flashes per second. The US alone has more than 40 million lightning strikes each year. Any given square mile in the US can expect approximately 40 strikes per year.

Some statistics regarding lightning damage include:

  • Between 1992 – 1996, it is estimated by that 1.7 billion dollars were paid out by insurance companies in lightning related commercial claims.
  • The Insurance Information Institute reports that approximately 5% of all commercial claims are lightning related.
  • In 1996 a Federal judge upheld a judgment levied by OSHA against a Pennsylvania firm for failure to provide adequate lightning protection, after two workers were killed by a lightning caused explosion.
  • The US Fire Administration reported in 2002 that it estimates 17,400 structural fires are caused by lightning each year. Dollar losses per lightning fire are nearly twice that of fires started by other means.
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