Lightning victims all have this in common

A 28-year-old woman in a tent at a music festival in Louisiana. A 37-year-old man riding a horse in Mississippi. Men and women of all ages and from all walks of life in different parts of the country working and enjoying the summer by gardening, having a picnic, or simply just standing in their yard. As these people in different circumstances went about their daily lives, none suspected that they would be struck and killed by lightning on the day they died.

A large, branched bolt of lightning.

Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year. (Image credit: Paulina Cwik/NOAA)

Sixteen people have succumbed to injuries from lightning strikes so far this year, with about half the lightning season still ahead. In fact, July is the historical peak of lightning fatalities in the United States, with more deaths on average than any other month.

As of July 19, 2016, 14 lightning deaths have been recorded in the U.S. Learn more.
U.S. lightning fatalities, 2006-2016As of July 21, 2016, 16 lightning deaths have been recorded in the U.S. Learn more. (NOAA)

Lightning is random, and does not discriminate. However, all lightning victims had one thing in common: They were all outdoors or in unsafe places like a tent, a picnic pavilion, or under a tree when they were struck.

Remember: You will only be safe during a thunderstorm if you seek shelter immediately in a substantial building with four walls and a ceiling or a hard-topped car. Don’t wait until the storm is directly overhead – that can be too late. "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!"