Based on records currently available, no complete knowledge exists of the number of casualties caused by lightning in the United States. The compilation of lightning casualty statistics is not a simple problem, and there are many unresolved issues relating to definitions, procedures, and primary data sources. The purposes of this research were to consider the extent of incorrect reporting for Michigan as a case study for the nation and to determine some of the causes of the problem. The study outlines the problem, pinpoints limitations of the data, and underscores areas where more careful and uniform procedures could provide more consistent statistics. Lightning-related deaths in the state were traced through Department of Public Health death certificates, and lightning injuries severe enough to cause hospitalization were examined through hospital discharge records. A comparison of these figures to Storm Data statistics has shown the extent of inconsistency in lightning catastrophes reported for Michigan. In addition, some unexpected causes of the problem have been discovered.

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