The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

80 Percent Of Lightning Strike Victims Are Male, But Why?

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 4:42 pm

This tweet from the National Weather Service caught our attention, today:

"More than 80% of lightning victims are male. Be a force of nature by knowing your risk, taking action and being an example"

Eighty percent seemed to us pretty significant, so we turned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and asked, "Why?"

Susan Buchanan, a NOAA spokeswoman, said the agency had not conducted any formal studies, but NOAA and its partners had batted around a few theories.

-- First, men take more risks than women. "If you look at the percentage of men who take part in high risk sports, that might give you an idea," said Buchanan.

-- Men typically spend more time outside.

-- Men, said Buchanan, don't want to be seen as "wimps." This theory, she said, was backed up by talking to the Boy Scouts, who said no one wants to be the one to say it's time to go inside.

-- More men have jobs that require them to work outside.

We thought it might have to do with height, but Buchanan laughed at the suggestion.

As for NOAA's safety advice for lightning: "When thunder roars, go indoors." If can hear it, said Buchanan, you're close enough for a strike. Buchanan said you should also wait 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder to continue outdoor activity. NOAA has some more information on its website.

On average, 54 people are killed by lightning a year.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.