Lightning strikes a big concern during monsoon season - 8 News NOW

Lightning strikes a big concern during monsoon season

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Photo credit: Cathy G. Photo credit: Cathy G.

LAS VEGAS -- Every year dozens of people nationwide are struck by lightning, and just last week, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue say a person was struck on the Fourth of July, but lived to tell about it. The monsoon storms bring the vivid and dangerous weather phenomenon to the Las Vegas valley.

Meteorologists are surprised at how consistently active the monsoon storms have been so far. A lightning strike can kill instantly with temperatures so hot it can turn sand into glass.

The National Weather Service watches radar very closely and issues warnings for severe storms. No matter the strength of the storm, meteorologists say any thunderstorm should be taken seriously.

Meteorologist Chris Stachelski with the National Weather Service says one of the places you don't want to be during a storm is out in the open or near a body of water.

"Any thunderstorm by nature has lightning in it, it could be one strike it could be a thousand,” Stachelski said. "Any water, pools, lakes, anything like that, is about one of the worst places you can be in lightning because that is just a target for lightning to strike."

Stachelski added Tuesday’s storm on Lake Mead was particularly dangerous because boaters were exposed to high winds and potentially deadly cloud-to-ground lightning.

"When you are out there, also on Lake Mead, you are out there in the open, you are the tallest object around, typically on boats there are metal railings, there are metal controls devices all over the boats and the steering wheels,” Stachelski said.

Nobody was struck and there were no reported injuries after the storm blew through. However, the National Weather Service says since 1960, there have been four reported deaths in Clark County from lightning and 16 people have been hurt. People have been struck by lightning while riding motorcycles and while checking their cars for damage after storm-related crashes.

Lightning is the number two killer related to thunderstorms behind flash flooding.


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