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Lightning has killed 15 so far this year - including one in Kansas

In honor of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, local photographer Katherine Bay shared a couple of lightning images with me.

Not that broiling Wichita or most of Kansas will have to worry about thunderstorms for the next several days.

But lightning is dangerous: 15 people have been killed by strikes so far this year, including 45-year-old Troy Gentzler of Lawrence, who was struck while riding his motorcycle in northeast Kansas on April 25.

Lightning deaths have been recorded in 12 different states so far this year, including two each in Florida, Texas and California. Men have accounted for 80% of the fatalities. That’s no surprise, lightning experts have told me, because men are more aggressive when it comes to taking risks.

Three of the people killed were walking, five were engaged in fishing, camping or other outdoor sports, and four were engaged in yard work.

People joke about the long odds of being hit by lightning - but you have a much, much better chance of being struck by a bolt than winning virtually any lottery.

Only 10 percent of those hit by lightning are killed - but it’s not unusual for survivors to endure some degree of pain or disability that lingers for the rest of their lives.

That’s why it’s wise to take no chances with lightning.

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