Here's a great graphic out of NOAA showing United States Lightning Fatalities from 2006 - 2015. So far the deadliest year has been 2006 with 48 deaths. The graphic also shows which gender the fatality was, which is interesting because it's almost 80% male!!
Lightning is a very dangerous aspect of any thunderstorm, even non-severe storms! Remember, if you can hear thunder then you're close enough to be struck by lightning! Also, many people believe thunder and lightning are separate events but lighting is the action that causes thunder to occur!
When a storm is headed your way, please seek shelter immediately, stay away from windows and don't use your plumbing (sink, shower). If a house is directly struck by lightning, the energy can flow through utilities like plumbing and strike you while you're inside your home!
If you can't find shelter during a storm, stay away from tall objects like trees, a car is safer to stay in than a field, just don't touch the metal frame of your car. If you are stranded outside, kneel down as low as you can be, while also limiting the amount of your body touching the ground, don't stand in water.
A great way to stay alert to storms in your area is by downloading various apps. A free app with lightning detector built into it is the WeatherBug app. It will tell you how far away the closest lightning strike is. You can even change settings to allow the app to alert you when lightning is close by.
With technology today, lightning strikes should truly be freak accidents!
Want to watch a cool 3D visualization of how lightning forms? Check out the cool video