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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published January 12 2012

Weather Talk: Rough year in US weather, but lightning deaths down

The year 2011 was a terrible year for American weather.

The 552 tornado fatalities tie with 1936 for the second greatest on record and trail only the 1925 total of 794.

Nationwide, there were more than a dozen billion-dollar weather disasters and a record 99 presidential disaster declarations.

The drought in Texas was the worst in 50 years. Minot flooded in June, and then Hurricane Irene caused extensive flooding across the Northeast.

But Dr. Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel has reported that lightning deaths were at a record low in 2011. Just 26 people died from lightning in the United States, furthering a trend that began about 20 years ago. Apparently, more people are now aware that lightning is a potential killer and take safety more seriously. Hopefully, we can lower that number even more in the coming years.

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or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com