If you hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning
Terrible to read this morning about the Pasadena man who was struck by lightning just before 6 p.m. Sunday on the fishing pier at Fort Smallwood Park. Elmer Coreas, 29, was listed in critical condition today the at Maryland Shock-Trauma Center in Baltimore. First responders found him in cardiac arrest.
We hope for his recovery, and that his experience will awaken others to the dangers of staying out in the open when thunderstorms threaten.
An average of 58 people are killed each year by lightning in the U.S. Hundreds more suffer permanent injuries. The National Weather Service says these can include "a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and more."
The most important thing to remember about lightning is this: The 50,000-degree Fahrenheit lightning bolt that triggers the thunderclap can travel 10 miles. And the sound of that thunder can be heard 10 miles away from the strike. So if you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning from that storm. Take shelter.
Substantial buildings and hard-topped cars will work. Standing under a tree just makes you a target, along with the tree. And standing out on a pier, the tallest thing out there, is not a good plan, either.
(SUN PHOTO: Gene Sweeney, Jr., June 9, 2011)