More than 300 people a year are struck by lightning in the United States. About two-thirds of those people live to tell about it, so your chances or survival are actually pretty good.
But before you send your child out to the backyards with a kite, you should know that most victims are badly injured. Many are knocked unconscious, or have their heart stopped. They also can have hearing damage due to the loud thunder at such close range, as well as burns from the electricity. The temperature of an average lightning strike is around 50,000 to 60,000° F. This is what causes trees to blow apart when they are struck as the sap and water in the trunk become superheated in an instant. Lightning also varies widely in terms of the size of the bolt. The kind that Zeus hurls at blasphemers are probably much stronger than your summer afternoon flicker. The good news is that if your heart is stopped by lightning it is fairly easy to get it going again through CPR or a defibrillator.
A park ranger claims to have been struck by lightning seven times.
Here is the official story:
“Between 1942 and his death in 1983, Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning
seven times. The first lightning strike shot through Sullivan’s leg and
knocked his big toenail off. In 1969, a second strike burned off his eyebrows
and knocked him unconscious. Another strike just a year later, left
his shoulder seared. In 1972 his hair was set on fire and Roy had to dump
a bucket of water over his head to cool off. In 1973, another bolt ripped
through his hat and hit him on the head, set his hair on fire again, threw him
out of his truck and knocked his left shoe off. A sixth strike in 1976 left him
with an injured ankle. The last lightning bolt to hit Roy Sullivan sent him to
the hospital with chest and stomach burns in 1977.”