Just hours before the incident on Tuesday night, 2021 was reported as the longest year on record without a lightning fatality.
A golfer in New Jersey was killed by lightning just hours after the National Weather Service announced that no one had been yet.
The man, who was in his 70s, was between the sixth and seventh hole at Burlington Country Club on Wednesday afternoon, when a storm suddenly descended.
The man was running for shelter under a tree just 500 yards from the clubhouse when lightning struck the tree. He died at the scene.
Fellow golfers told CBS3 the sky had been grey but not threatening right before hand. Course managers said the ground had been wet from heavy rainfall, which would have allowed electrical currents to travel.
Just hours before the incident on Tuesday night, the Washington Post reported 2021 was the longest year on record without a lightning fatality.
Ordinarily, three to four Americans would have been killed by lightning by the second week in June; but up until Tuesday night, none had.
“Previously, the latest first fatality of the year occurred ten years ago on May 23, 2011,” John Jensenius, a lightning safety ambassador with the National Weather Service, told the publication.
Last year, 17 people were killed in America by lightning — five of them by June 7.
Every year, hundreds more are injured directly or indirectly by strikes, including burns, blindness, hearing loss and even permanent disability.
According to the Post, since records began, 41 people have been killed per year by lightning; but the trend has been steadily decreasing thanks to increased awareness, safety campaigns, and better weather forecasts. Back in the 1940s and 50s, the annual death tolls were up in the several hundreds.
Men are also three to four times more likely to be struck than women.
“While we can hope this record-breaking streak of no fatalities continues, history tells us it won’t,” was the final line in the Post’s ominous article.