Woman killed, 2 others injured in Florida lightning strike

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:09 AM EDT
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WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. (WKMG) - A mother is dead after a lightning strike in central Florida. Her child and a teen were injured.

“We found out while we were responding that it was a lightning strike,” an unnamed Winter Springs police officer said.

Police said the unidentified mother, her child and an unrelated 18-year-old girl were struck by lightning Thursday afternoon near a park.

Investigators said the mother died from her injuries.

“First I heard the noise, then my daughter called us to let us know something happened,” Mir Mirlatifi said.

Mirlatifi lives near the scene and said his children walk the same path every day.

“You cannot prevent them because there’s trees and nature,” Mirlatifi said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S., reporting more than 2,000 lightning-related injuries in the past 50 years.

“You hear about the lightning statistics that you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the lottery,” WKMG’s meteorologist Jonathan Kegges said. “Unfortunately, this happens a lot.”

Thursday’s death follows a fatal lightning strike in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in July. And in June, a girl from Merritt Island, Florida, was severely injured.

In all three cases, the victim was standing under or near a tree, reportedly the worst place to be during a storm

“There’s that rhyme: Thunder roars, go indoors,” Kegges said.

Kegges said in the afternoon, the sea breeze can lead to violent storms.

“We see a ton of lighting, and it’s because of the daily sea breeze interaction will generate the sea breeze with the heating of the day. … That collision helps to erupt more thunderstorms around, which produce a lot of lighting,” he said.

Police said the two people injured in the strike are in stable condition. A dog was also hurt.