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Lightning strikes double in U.S. this year, NWS says

Posted at 10:31 AM, Jul 09, 2015

Twice the number of people have been struck by lightning so far this year as compared to the last five years.

By the first week of July, roughly anywhere between seven and 10 people are usually struck and killed by lightning in any given year.

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This year, that number is already up to 17. The latest victim was a 12-year-old girl struck on a beach in Alabama.

Most lightning strikes happen in the South, where thunderstorms are more common and people are more likely to be outside.

Lightning can strike up to 15 miles away from a storm, so if it's not raining, you can still get struck by lightning.

The safe bet is to head inside as soon as you hear thunder.