Five people have been struck and killed by lightning so far this year in the United States, with all five of the deaths occurring in the South.
The number of deaths as of June 20 is one more than this time last year, a year that ended up setting an all-time record low for lightning deaths in recorded history.
Two of this year's victims were enjoying recreational activities when they were struck, while the other three had been working outdoors.
While lightning can claim lives all year round, the summer season is the most dangerous time of year for lightning in the U.S.
Based on a 10-year average compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the months of June and July have the most lightning fatalities with an average of six and 10 deaths per month, respectively.
It's not uncommon to see more lightning-related deaths across the South, because in some areas, afternoon thunderstorms are often a daily occurrence, according to John Jensenius, lightning safety specialist for the National Weather Service (NWS).
"Typically, we do see more lightning deaths in southern areas," Jensenius said. "Southern areas generally have more lightning than northern areas, and thunderstorms are common during a much longer season."
Particularly vulnerable locations include Florida and portions of the Gulf coast, where the combination of the amount of lightning and the number of people partaking in outdoor activities puts many lives at risk, he added.
While there are several precautionary steps to avoid lightning, such as checking the forecast, the most important thing to remember is the saying "when thunder roars, go indoors."
During June 24-30, the National Lightning Safety Council will promote its Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Since this awareness initiative launched in 2001, the number of lighting fatalities per year in the U.S. have dropped from about 50 to 30.
Take a look at some eerily beautiful lightning photos:
Lightning: 'Nature's fireworks'
Lightning: 'Nature's fireworks'
Lightning strikes over buildings during heavy rainfall in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, September 2, 2014. Picture taken September 2, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
Volcanic lightning is seen at an eruption of Mount Sakurajima, in this photo taken from Tarumizu city, Kagoshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 5, 2016. A Japanese volcano about 50 km (30 miles) from a nuclear plant erupted on Friday, Japan's Meteorological Agency said, sending fountains of lava into the night sky. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Mass lightning bolts light up night skies by Daggett airport from monsoon storms passing over the high deserts early Wednesday, north of Barstow, California, July 1, 2015. Picture taken using long exposure. REUTERS/Gene Blevins
Lightning strikes over Lake Maracaibo in the village of Congo Mirador, where the Catatumbo River feeds into the lake, in the western state of Zulia October 22, 2014. This year the Catatumbo Lightning was approved for inclusion in the 2015 edition of Guinness World Records, dethroning the Congolese town of Kifuka as the place with the world's most lightning bolts per square kilometer each year at 250. Scientists think the Catatumbo, named for a river that runs into the lake, is normal lightning that just happens to occur far more than anywhere else, due to local topography and wind patterns. Picture taken with long exposure October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Lightning strikes over a power station during a storm in the city of Ashkelon October 28, 2015. REUTERS/ Amir Cohen TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A monsoon lightning storm strikes the Mandalay Bay Resorts and Casino (L) and Luxor hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada late July 7, 2014. Monsoon storms are forecast for the the rest of the week in the Nevada and Arizona states. The Luxor Sky Beam can be seen shining into the sky from the top of the hotel's pyramid structure. Picture taken July 7. REUTERS/Gene Blevins (
A streak of lightning is seen above the skyline of Nanning during a thunderstorm in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region June 5, 2014. Picture taken June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
A lightning storm is pictured over the sea near the popular tourist destination of Cancun August 13, 2013. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Garcia
Lightning strikes over a pier during a storm in Atlit, near the northern Israeli city of Haifa October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Volcanic lightning or a dirty thunderstorm is seen above Shinmoedake peak as it erupts, between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, in this photo taken from Kirishima city and released by Minami-Nippon Shimbun January 28, 2011. Ash and rocks fell across a wide swathe of southern Japan straddling the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kagoshima on Thursday, as one of Mount Kirishima's many calderas erupted, prompting authorities to raise alert levels and call on for an evacuation of all residents within a 2 km (1.2 miles) radius of the volcano. REUTERS/Minami-Nippon Shimbun/Handout
Lightning strikes over Prague's suburban neighbourhood during an overnight storm July 17, 2009. REUTERS/PETR JOSEK
Lightning strikes near the town of Searchlight, Nevada as the first storm of the season passes through the western deserts of the United States in the early hours of June 8, 2006. REUTERS/Gene Blevins (United States)
Lightning is seen over south Mumbai's skyline before the first pre-monsoon showers May 31, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)
ITALY - 2016/06/24: A discharge of lightning. Following a strong disturbance traveling on the Ionian Sea on the coast of Calabria and Basilicata was struck by a strong lightning storm. According to some surveys Radar, in three hours have flared over 2000 lightning strikes in this area. Many believe that the particular event is due to climate change. (Photo by Alfonso Di Vincenzo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
An important thing to keep in mind is that even if you're close to your home, that doesn't mean you're any less likely to avoid being struck. The sound of thunder should serve as an immediate reminder to head inside.
One of this year's victims, a 7-year-old boy, was struck and killed when he was playing under a tree outside his home in McKenzie, Tennessee.
"Overall, about 20 percent of lightning fatalities are related to activities around the home," Jensenius said. "Lightning happens instantaneously, but unfortunately people often wait until they hear a until they hear a loud clap of thunder from a nearby lightning strike before going inside."
Jensenius said that lightning fatality statistics show that people do take more chances when they're closer to home, whether it's doing yard work, walking to or from a car or simply waiting too long to head inside.
"Unfortunately, taking chances sometimes results in a lightning death or injury," he said.