California Lightning Strikes Twice


Apparently, lightning strikes twice in California. On Sunday, a rare thunderstorm occurred along the coast of the Pacific Ocean which led to a death and several injuries in Venice Beach and Catalina Island. Lifeguards assisted victims who had become dizzy after being in or near the water when the lightning had struck. A surfer and 20-year-old man were reported as being critically injured, and the 20-year-old later died after being rushed to the hospital.

According to ABC News, firefighters said a bolt of lightning had struck the shoreline in Venice Beach and sent an electric current toward both swimmers and surfers. A total of 13 people were treated, and eight were sent to the hospital. The 20-year-old man, whose name has yet to be released, had gone missing in the waters before lifeguards were able to recover his body. Emergency personnel determined the man had suffered from a full cardiac arrest. They began administering CPR before transporting him to Marina Del Rey Hospital where he later died.

A report in The Huffington Post stated a 57-year-old man was also struck by lightning while playing golf on Catalina Island. He was taken to a hospital, but listed in stable condition. Although no other details were given on the man, The Huffington Post reported minor flooding and two brush fires had occurred from this “fierce, but brief thunderstorm.” This was the same storm which hit beach goers later in Venice Beach causing lightning to strike twice in parts of Southern California.

Witnesses had said the thunderstorm had a loud sound to it. Stuart Acher was in Venice Beach playing volleyball when he said there was a flash of light and a boom, and then he and others suddenly fell over. Jerome Williams, another volleyball player, described the sound as a “sonic boom.”

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), there have been 15 deaths this year related to lightning strikes prior to this incident, including six in Florida. In fact, the death of the 20-year-old man was the first to happen in California this year. The NWS reports an average of 51 deaths occur annually from lightning strikes.

A direct strike from lightning is potentially the most deadly since the current can travel through a person’s nervous and cardiovascular system. However, a person can also come in contact with lightning through a “side flash” and “ground current.” According to NWS, the ground current strike is the cause of most deaths and injuries related to lightning.

Not long ago, lightning struck twice in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. According to a separate report from ABC News, on July 12, a 52-year-old man died one day after a 42-year-old woman had died from lightning strikes occurring within the same vicinity. A total of 10 people were also injured where these deaths had occurred. The woman’s death on Friday marked the first one related to lightning in Colorado this year, making it apparent that lightning can strike twice as it had in both California and Colorado.

By Liz Pimentel

ABC News (California)
Huffington Post
ABC News (Colorado)

One Response to "California Lightning Strikes Twice"

  1. Michael Schultheiss   July 29, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    A very well-written article about this unfortunate tragedy. Good job, Liz, keep it up!


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