April 29, 2003


Storms and lightning much deadlier for men (Mary Vallis, April 29, 2003, National Post)
Men are more than twice as likely as women to die during thunderstorms, mainly because they do not come in from the rain, new research suggests.

A new study of more than 1,400 thunderstorm-related deaths in the United States found 70% of the victims were male. The gender disparity was particularly pronounced among deaths caused by lightning strikes and flash floods.

Close to 80% of the lightning victims were men, said Dr. Thomas Songer of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Injury Research. [...]

Dr. Songer speculated men may be at greater risk of dying during thunderstorms because of their exposure to the elements and their behaviour. Men seem more likely to take risks during storms.

"I would say they make poor decisions," he said. "I've read several reports surrounding the deaths, and there's quite a few situations where people drive around barricades and go through flooded roads, and their car gets picked up and floated down, and they drown."

The gender trend for lightning deaths goes back at least a century in medical literature, said Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, director of the Lightning Injury Research Program at the University of Illinois, who was not involved in the new research.

"Men tend to be optimists. They all think that their team's going to win the pennant and they're never going to be hit by lightning."

That last reminds us of one of the more sublime moments in the history of man:

"They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..." -- Last words of General John Sedgwick (1813-1864) Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2003 10:02 AM
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