Lightning kills 5 in US during past week

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WATCH: Lightning strikes 2 people in Connecticut

By Kristina Pydynowski for AccuWeather

Lightning claimed a fifth life in the past week across the United States on Saturday.

Scott Pasour, 54, was struck and killed by lightning on Saturday afternoon near the entrance of Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina.

Pasour and two other motorcyclists had stopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway to put on rain gear, according to the Gaston Gazette.

The two other men were not hurt and reported that they did not see any lightning or heard any thunder until the deadly lightning bolt.

RELATED: Crazy lightning photos

17 PHOTOS
Crazy lightning photos - Lightning safety week
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Crazy lightning photos - Lightning safety week
Fingers of lightning illuminate the sky as a summer storm packing high winds and heavy rains sweeps over downtown Denver late Thursday, June 4, 2015. Severe weather has hit in several locations along Colorado's Front Range during the day, prompting forecasters to issue tornado and flood warnings for the night ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The night sky in Schwangau, southern Germany, is illuminated by lightning during thunderstorms in the late evening of Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Southern Germany was hit by storms last night. ( Jonas Walzberg/dpa via AP)
A lightning bolt strikes down during a storm with the One World Trade Center tower, left, as a backdrop, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, a massive storm cloud packing high winds, hail and heavy rains sweeps over downtown Denver as lightning strikes on the horizon on Monday, July 7, 2014. After a daytime high that reached 100 degree, forecasters predict that heavy thunderstorms will envelop Colorado's Front Range communities through the night. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, a bolt of lightning strikes down over Acapulco, Mexico. The Pacific resort city is recovering from the pounding of Tropical Storm Manuel a few weeks ago, that left massive flooding, landslides, rockslides, collapsed bridges and stranding about 40,000 thousands tourists for days. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez)
A lightning illuminates the sky over the Malecon during a lightning storm in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Sept 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Lightning steaks across the sky behind the Young Meadows Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Ala., Monday, March 18, 2013. Strong storms moved across much of Alabama on Monday, bringing hail, high winds, and heavy rainfall as a cold front passed through the state. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In a Tuesday, May 1, 2012 photo, a double rainbow appears in the sky as lightning strikes during a severe thunderstorm in Hamilton, Ohio. Strong thunderstorms caused multiple lightening strikes in the area. (AP Photo/Steve Vaughn)
Lightning illuminates the sky above the Kibbie Dome and the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. The lightning storm could have sparked new fires in the area Sunday night. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Lightning reveals a large layer of dust in the sky Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 in Gilbert, Ariz. The dust storm swept through Pinal County and headed northeast, reaching Phoenix at about 6 p.m. It was the third major dust storm to hit the Phoenix metro area since last month. (AP Photo/Matt York)  
Lightning strikes the ground, South of Tyler, Texas on Saturday night, Feb. 14, 2009, as a line of storms crossed over East Texas. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)
A lightning strikes over the palm trees during a thunder storm in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, southern Turkey, late Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Kaan Soyturk)
The view from Malibu California as a early morning monsoon storm moving north up the coast created a huge lightning show that could be seen from Orange County to Santa Barbara County. Malibu California Friday August 15,2008. AP/Photo Gene Blevins
Lightning rolls across the sky of Tyler, Texas as powerful thunderstorms stretch across Texas to Tennessee on Monday night, Feb. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)
A lightning strikes over the city of Locarno, Switzerland, during a thunder storm late Sunday, Aug. 8, 2004. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)
Lightning bolts flash over downtown Los Angeles early Tuesday morning, Sept. 20, 2005. Up to 20,000 customers experienced power disruptions from an electrical storm that continued to hover over the region Tuesday morning, according to a Southern California Edison official. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows)
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Pasour's death marks the fifth lightning death in the past week across the U.S., according to John Jensenius, Jr., Lightning Safety Specialist with the National Weather Service (NWS). That brings the number of lightning deaths across the U.S. to 14.

Three people were killed alone on Thursday, July 14. Franceen Crowl died in Dover, Tennessee, marking the first lightning death in Tennessee since 2007, Jensenius said.

More from AccuWeather: Severe weather center: Recent lightning strikes

On average, 49 people are killed by lightning in the U.S. each year. Hundreds more are severely injured, according to the NWS.

With thunderstorms set to rattle several parts of the nation this week, more lives will be at risk.

Anyone planning to spend time outdoors this summer are urged to review key lightning safety tips to avoid becoming another lightning death statistic.

"While only a small number of thunderstorms become strong enough to produce damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes, every thunderstorm produces lightning," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada said.

More from AccuWeather: 3 ways to help pets cope with fear of storms

An estimated 25 million flashes of lightning strike every year across the U.S.

"Many lightning strikes are harmless and have very little effect on people and the environment," Lada said. "However, people should keep in mind that it only takes one to endanger lives and cause damage to property."

More from AccuWeather: INFOGRAPHIC: Electrifying Lightning Myths and Facts Unveiled

As soon as thunder is heard, the danger of being struck by lightning is present. A bolt of lightning can strike people and buildings 10 miles away from where it is raining. In extremely rare cases, lightning has been detected almost 50 miles from the thunderstorm.

If on a beach or in other situations when it is difficult to hear thunder, AccuWeather MinuteCastcan aid alert people to impending thunderstorms.

Make yourself the smallest target possible if you are caught outdoors during a thunderstorm. Crouch down with your knees together and your weight on the balls of your feet. Put your head down and cover your ears. Do not lie flat. The goal is to minimize your height and your body's contact with the ground.

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Never seek shelter underneath a tree. The lightning charge can strike the tree, then cause fatalities up to 100 feet away. Avoid lakes, streams and swimming pools since water conducts electricity.

An umbrella will provide protection from a thunderstorm's rain but could also act as a lightning rod.

A sturdy and enclosed building or a vehicle is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm. Water, windows, plumbing and electrical appliances should be avoided. It is safer to use a cell phone than a cord phone when inside.

"It is a common myth that lightning is attracted to metal," AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott said. "While metal objects don't attract lightning, they are extremely good conductors of dangerous electricity."

"Lightning usually tries to find the quickest path to the ground. If that path happens to be through anything that conducts electricity, including metal objects and phone cords, the electricity from the bolt will travel easily to whoever is holding it."

The metal frame of a vehicle is what protects people during a thunderstorm, not the rubber tires. Anyone riding a motorcycle or bicycle should seek shelter when a thunderstorm threatens.

Remain inside for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard.

If you are with someone who gets struck by lightning, there is no threat of electrocution from touching him/her.

"Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning," according to the NWS.

"However, with proper treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike."

AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions provides lightning warnings and notifications to numerous outdoor venues and events in order protect event goers and employees as well as property. The warnings are customized to businesses' precise geographic area and provide crucial lead time to dangerous lightning strikes.

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