Why July Is the Most Dangerous Month for Lightning Strikes

Experts explain why several people have been injured by lightning recently, and why lightning is still a mystery.
6:33 | 07/15/14

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Transcript for Why July Is the Most Dangerous Month for Lightning Strikes
As we go on-air nearly 80 million Americans are facing extreme weather tonight. It's the most dangerous month of the year for lightning strikes. As you're about to hear, they can even hit in your own home. Here's ABC's senior meteorologist ginger zee on how it happens and how you can stay safe. Reporter: Lightning. One of nature's most destructive and unbridled forces. Fascinating yet dangerous. Ripping through buildings, trees, cars, and even people. Killing 12 people already this year, lightning took two lives in two separate incidents at the same park this past weekend in Colorado. Injuring 20 others. We didn't see the bolt. It was just a white flash. Reporter: Even inside your home, lightning can strike. All we heard was kaboom! All I remember was I was staying with my mom and I got shocked. Reporter: In Atlanta, 7-year-old Sebastian zdeno was struck while inside his house with his mother, CARA rivers. Cara decided to wait near the bay window for her husband. Then lightning struck right through that very window. We're standing at the bay window, then all of a sudden we hear this big croosh! Both of us on our back, our hands to our ears. I saw my son on the ground, he was smoking. Reporter: First responders arrived at the scene. Seeing the hole in the sock I thought he might have lost a foot. Reporter: Sebastian's sock was left charred and his injuries severe, suffering first-degree wounds on his pelvis down to his groin, right arm, back of his body. Little Sebastian was lucky to survive. His parents still in awe. Inside of your home. That's where you feel the safest. Reporter: So what has seemed like lightning hitting so many people? Lightning safety specialist, July is the most dangerous month for lightning strikes. July is the peak season in lightning. Because people are outside, it's also the month when we have the most lightning fatalities. About 15 people a year die during the month of July. Reporter: While lightning only strikes 1 in 1 million people, those lucky enough to survive can see lifelong ct effes. There's a pretty good chance that they may have neurological damage. Headaches, severe chronic pain, memory loss, personality changes. Reporter: Every thunderstorm has lightning. And the storm does not have to meet severe criteria to contain deadly lightning. For something so common, there's still so much mystery surrounding the brilliant bolts. We don't actually know what happens at the very moment lightning is born. My trend and seasoned storm chaser Tim samarras was trying to find that answer. He died last year chasing the el Reno, Oklahoma, tornado. He spent his years studying tornados and the environment that surrounds them. He devised technology that continues to help us measure and predict tornados. His quest to learn and inform always inspired him to chase. Oh my god, that was huge! Reporter: I had the honor of joining Tim on an expedition the summer before his death to study his other love. Oh, look at that! Reporter: Lightning. That was beautiful. The problem is everybody's, oh, geez, Tim, it's easy. Get in your car, hear a rumble of thunder, park next to it, you're in. It's not that easy. Sometimes it's almost as difficult chasing a tornado as it is a good lightning storm. We're going to see the kahu kahuna. Yep. Reporter: Tim built this ultra high-speed camera in the hopes he could capture the birth of a lightning strike. There's actually 82 cameras on the instrument here taking one picture of the lightning in one microsecond's time. Reporter: Credit ins said it was impossible but Tim was never one to shy away from a challenge. I'm not going to give up until this is done. Especially as the naysayers tell me it can't be done, it drives me harder. Reporter: Before we left Tim kissed his wife good-bye. His son joined us. He'd later die in the same tornado that took his father. Back then they wereling tore learn the family business. We covered four states on our journey, more than 800 miles with plenty of disappointing storms. Yeah, this storm, this storm kicked out several lightning strikes, probably five minutes apart. Hardly worth firing the equipment over but it's pretty. If rainbow chasing were the goal we did it. We scored the f-5 of rainbows. Reporter: Then, just as dark settled in -- Oh my god, oh my god! Reporter: Due north, a classic thunderstorm busting with lightning. All right, that is happening. It's going to come right out. That was 12:00. Reporter: With Paul on watch and Tim manning the camera they managed to snag a beautiful image. Numerous branches then the first one hits the ground and return stroke. Starting lightning, starting tornados, are one of the final frontiers in meteorology. Those are the things, because they're so fleeting, they're so very difficult to study. You have to get up close and you have to collect imagery, you have to collect data. Reporter: It's that philosophy to get close to storms that drives meteorologists like us to keep chasing. Now tonight, as severe storms rumble across our nation, John has some tips on how you can keep you and your family safe from lightning. Tip one, find cover immediately. If we look at each fatality, women seem to be better at getting inside when the lightning threat is there. Men aren't as good about getting inside when the lightning threatens. Reporter: Tip two, once inside, stay away from water. As lightning strikes the home and goes through the plumbing, it could very easily go through the water and get to you. Reporter: Tip three, stay away fm windows and doors. If lightning strikes the outside of the home, it could follow that metal doorknob inside. Reporter: If you're stuck outside? A person inside the car will be safe. Reporter: The best way to avoid a lightning strike, pay attention to the weather and don't get caught in the storm. For "Nightline," I'm ginger zee in New York City. For more lightning safety tips head to our website at abcnews.com.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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