Another lightning death raises toll to highest in 15 years

Update 8:05 a.m.: A 36-year-old man was struck and killed by lightning near Slidell, LA on Wednesday, bringing the total number of fatalities for 2016 to five.

That’s the highest number of people killed by lightning since 2001 when there were seven fatalities by April 28.

The number is notable considering two of the people are from Palm Beach County and the area hasn’t even hit the height of lightning season yet.

Most lightning strikes occur during the summer months when sea breezes kick up afternoon thunderstorms in South Florida.

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The National Weather Service is reporting a fourth lightning-related death this year, marking the highest number of fatalities this early in the year since 2006.

Tim Edge, 37, was struck and killed Wednesday while riding his horse in Mantachie, Miss., according to the Itawamba County Times. Both Edge and the horse died.

Read: Lightning kills randomly, know myth from fact

Edge’s death marks the fourth lightning death this year nationwide, which includes two Palm Beach County residents. 

Three Boca Raton firefighters were also struck by lightning last month, but recovered from their injuries.

John Jensenius, a meteorologists and lightning expert with the National Weather Service, said the last time four lightning fatalities occurred this early in the year was 2006.

In 2015, 27 people were killed by lightning. Jensenius added the 27th to the list earlier this week after learning of a 52-year-old woman who was on struck by lightning on June 27 while standing on the tarmac at Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina. She died August 5.

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