It is estimated at any given moment nearly 2,000 thunderstorms are in progress over the earth's surface, and lightning strikes the earth 100 times each second. There are about 45,000 thunderstorms daily and 16 million annually around the world. There are at least 100,000 thunderstorms annually across the United States. Statistics from 1959-82 for the United States show that 2,430 people have lost their lives, and 5,882 have been injured by lightning, an average of a little over 100 people killed and about 250 injured each year. Property loss is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
At the U.S. Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists monitor and predict these storms.
NOAA's National Weather Service keeps a round-the-clock vigil on atmospheric conditions and issues watches and warnings for severe thunderstorms.
Project officials at NOAA's Environmental Research Laboratories seek new tools and improved understanding of thunderstorm processes. Scientists probe storms with radar, satellites, lightning detective devices, laser beams, and aircraft.