Beachgoers Struck By LightningAugust 2nd, 2012 at 7:46 am by Adam Strzempko under Weather
Many people like to enjoy a day at the beach. But it’s important to keep an eye on the sky.
On Wednesday, August 1st, four people were struck by lightning on a beach in New Jersey. One of them was a pregnant woman. They went to the hospital for minor injuries.
Apparently, these people were taking shelter from a thunderstorm under a beach umbrella. Lightning either struck the umbrella or near the umbrella, but didn’t strike the people directly.
Both direct and indirect lightning strikes can kill someone, so these people were very fortunate to only suffer minor injuries.
But even so, this could have been prevented. It is not safe to be under a beach umbrella if there is a thunderstorm around. In fact, it is not safe to be outdoors in thunderstorm. The safest places are either in a building or in a car. In the case of a beach umbrella (or tree- as many people are injured or killed by lightning when taking shelter under trees) lightning strikes the object and then can branch off to anything or anyone nearby. These people were close enough to walk to their beach home, since two of them did after the strike before going to the hospital. It would have been a safer decision for them to just walk home rather than take shelter under their beach umbrella.
If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. If skies begin to look threatening, seek shelter inside. If you are at the beach, you can either go home or seek shelter in your car. It may be inconvenient to pack up your stuff and leave, but it is a safer decision than being outside or taking shelter under a beach umbrella or tree, and it could save your life. You can always return to the beach after the storm passes.
Written by 22News Storm Team Intern Eileen Carmody