Lightning strikes the ground in the U.S. an estimated 25 million times every year, carrying between 100 million and 1 billion volts, and billions of watts of energy. A single lightning strike can heat the air around it to between 18,000 and 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory. This awesome force of nature can be very beautiful, but it's also deadly and destructive.

The cost of lightning strikes

In 2014, the Insurance Information Institute recorded that lightning strikes killed 26 people, and in 2013 accounted for an estimated $674 million in Homeowners insurance losses. They noted that the number of claims paid was falling (partly due to more widespread use of lightning protection systems), but the average cost of claims was rising (along with the value of electronic equipment). The average cost of a claim in 2012 was $6,400.

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