Lightning deserves respect

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019

According to the National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning are pretty low. In a given year, the odds of being struck are somewhere around one in 1,222,000. The odds of being struck once during one’s lifetime are around one in 15,300.

But that’s exactly what happened to two boys on the Outer Banks last week. Our sister paper, The Coastland Times, reported that one boy was struck and the other was standing close by at the time. The boys, one 11 and the other 14, were fishing on the beach at Mirlo Beach, near Rodanthe.

Both lads lived to tell the tale. One was released after being treated at Outer Banks Hospital. The other was expected to be released from the hospital in Norfolk last Wednesday.

The Times reported it was a small thunderstorm blowing through the area that produced the lightning. For those living on the Pamlico River, these types of summer storms are all too familiar. They can appear without warning on a hot summer day, seemingly materializing out of nowhere.

When enjoying the outdoors this summer, never fail to take the weather into account. Be prepared to change plans at a moment’s notice, and always take lightning seriously.

For those with smartphones, downloading a good weather alert app is a safe bet. Some will even show you the nearest lightning strike to your location, down to a fraction of a mile. It’s a worthwhile investment, and staying ahead of changing weather is always a smart idea.