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Meanwhile, on the Internet
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'Meanwhile' is a collaborative blog about all the crazy stuff on the Internet. Here, reporters from various Tribune desks tell you what you (almost) need to know about topics ranging from technology to YouTube sensations. Contributors: Michael McFall, Dave Newlin, Matt Piper, Brennan Smith, Erin Alberty. Edited by Sheena McFarland.

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(Lennie Mahler | The Salt Lake Tribune) A thunderstorm makes its way across the Salt Lake Valley over the Gateway Mall on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011.
Lightning is more likely to kill you in Salt Lake than in other counties

Astraphobes take note: you’re more likely to be hit, and killed, by lightning in Salt Lake County than anywhere else along the Wasatch Front.

That revelation comes from Google’s lightning hazard map, which breaks down lightning strikes that caused injuries, deaths and property damage in all of the counties in the U.S. (Zoom in to see details and the heat map.)

In Salt Lake City, lightning has killed three people and injured three more since 1995.

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By contrast in Utah County, no one has died from lightning over that same period. However, three people were injured and lightning caused $165,000 in damage. Davis and Weber counties were even safer, with no deaths in either and only one injury between them.

Now, obviously Salt Lake City is bigger in terms of population and development, so it makes sense that it’d also experience more destructive lightning strikes.

But things get weirder when we go statewide. Specifically, Grand County had the same number of deaths as Salt Lake County, and only one fewer injury. And other parts of the country that are much more densely populated than any county in Utah — southern California, for example — had fewer strikes.

There are surely a lot of factors at play here, from climate to behavior, but for now the map gives us a sense where this seemingly most unlikely of accidents is prone to happen.

Twitter: @jimmycdii



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