Phyllis Kelly of Prentiss still gets tears in her eyes as she recounts being struck by lightning in 2010.
She was in a hurry, she said, trying to make it back to work before the storm started up. She was never one to use an umbrella, but she said the rain was so bad that day that she decided to anyway.
"I got halfway across the parking lot at work and the wind was blowing my umbrella around. I caught it with both hands, but as soon as I let go with one of them and was trying to hold it and it struck," she said. "It burned my finger and the palm of my right hand. I tried to let go and couldn't."
Finally, she was able to grab the umbrella with her other hand and throw it away. The lightning, she said, exited her elbow and her knee.
"It felt like I had been shocked and was in a tunnel of fog!" she said. "I could not hear anything around me because everything seemed really quiet. I looked up in the sky and saw another flash of lightning. It was like it was going back up." (source: Clarion Ledger)
Phyllis was lucky because she survived.
A new National Weather Service study came out today, and it shows between 2006 and 2012, 238 people died from lightning strikes in the U.S. The average is 37 per year.
Most (152) of the deaths happened from leisure activities, with fishing at the top of the list.
The 26 fishing deaths surpassed totals from camping (15 deaths), boating (14 deaths), soccer (12 deaths), and golf (8 deaths).
Experts say there are more deaths contributed to fishing and boating due to the extra time it takes to seek shelter while on the water. Most wait too long to get to a safe place.
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