According to ABC and this July 16, 2012 weather update, this is one of the hottest and driest U.S. summers in the last 50 years. The current trend is characterized by extreme heat and drought. And a series of damaging and even deadly lightning storms have gripped the nation over the past two weeks or so.
61 percent of the country is in a drought, and it is considered the worst drought since the 1950s.
Two men in Houston were killed by lightning while watching a game of soccer.
Tim Heller notes that half of the people who have died from lightning in 2012 were standing under trees. Apparently, this is not the place to hide in a storm with severe lightning. This is because lightning has a tendency to strike the tallest object in the area in which it strikes. At the same time, though, the other half were killed when standing in an open field. So the location of lightning strikes is not totally predictable.
The safest place during a lightning storm is an enclosed building. This is because lightning typically does not strike the inner portions of a building. If it does penetrate the wiring or plumbing, then the electrical charge typically goes straight through to the ground.
You can also seek shelter in a car because the lightning travels through the metal and to the ground.