Tag Archives: weather

Five killed in Florida by lightning this year

Florida’s reputation for killer lightning continues.

Five people have been killed by lightning this year, most recently a tourist in Brevard County. They are among 11 killed in the U.S. this year.

Nine people were killed by lightning in Florida last year, including a tourist in Volusia County.

Fifty-two people have been killed by lightning between 2007 and 2016, according to a Naples Daily News.

Florida far outpaces any other state when it comes to lightning-related deaths. Texas had 21 deaths, less than half of Florida’s deaths in the same time period, according to a USA Today Network-Florida analysis.

In Florida’s most recent case, Lamar Rayfield, 35, of Philadelphia died at a hospital after he was hit by lightning on Satellite Beach in Brevard County on July 28.

An infant delivered after his pregnant mother was struck by lightning in the Fort Myers area died July 12, roughly two weeks after the strike.

Meghan Davidson was struck by lightning June 29. Her baby, Owen, was delivered at Lee Memorial Hospital and later moved to Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Thirty-five-year old Jeremy Harper of Kentucky died after a lightning strike outside his tent July 10 at the Wilderness Landing Campground in Okaloosa County in the Florida Panhandle.

He was camping with eight other family members, including six children ranging in age from 15 months to 13 years old, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Guadalupe Salinas, 46, of  Fort Pierce died after he was struck by lightning at a Jensen Beach construction site on May 17.

A construction worker, Edwin Ramos Jarquin Armas, 33, died in June after he was struck on the grounds of Pines City Center in Pembroke Pines, the Miami Herald said.

The last lightning fatality in Volusia County happened last year.

Janika Gardner of Georgia died after she was hit by lightning on the beach in Daytona Beach Shores on June 24, 2016, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

During storms:

  • Avoid open areas. Don’t be the tallest object in the area.
  • Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility
    poles.
  • Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an
    area.
  • Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or
    fences.
  • Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can
    travel long distances through it.

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Florida leads nation in fatal lightning strikes

Florida remains the most deadly state in the nation for lightning strikes.

Fifty-two people have been killed by lightning since January 2007, according to a Naples Daily News report Sunday.

Nine people were killed by lightning in Florida last year, including a tourist in Volusia County.

Janika Gardner of Georgia died after she was hit by lightning on the beach in Daytona Beach Shores on June 24, 2016, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

She was the last lightning fatality in Volusia County, NOAA said.

Two people have been killed by lightning so far this year. Laura Miller, 37, died after being hit by lightning while riding a horse in Douglas County, Colorado on May 7.

Florida far outpaces any other state when it comes to lightning-related deaths. Texas had 21 deaths, less than half of Florida’s deaths in the same time period, according to a USA Today Network-Florida analysis.

DeBary resident Terri Hoag survived a lightning blast 11 years ago.

Hoag currently serves on the city of DeBary’s community center task force.

Some residents of The Reserve at DeBary were credited with saving Hoag after she was struck by lightning in May 2006 while carrying her then 2-year-old son to a neighbor’s house, according to the Orando Sentinel.

Son Logan wasn’t grounded and wasn’t shocked, the newspaper said.

Lightning facts and safety tips from NOAA:

“If you’re outside and hear thunder, the only way to significantly reduce your risk of becoming a lightning casualty is to get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle as fast as you can.”

During storms:

  • Avoid open areas. Don’t be the tallest object in the area.
  • Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility
    poles.
  • Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an
    area.
  • Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or
    fences.
  • Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can
    travel long distances through it.

 

DeBary official: Fay-like storm will flood city

Even though DeBary is inland, a roughly 40-minute drive from the nearest beach, hurricanes remain a threat. Storm veterans remember the River City’s flooding in 2004 and 2008.

Now, even after the city installed  $30 million with of stormwater upgrades, the flooding threat remains, Public Works Director Alan Williamson told the City Council on Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Fay dumped close to 24 inches of rain in 24 hours on parts of West Volusia in 2008, overflowing lakes, putting streets underwater and flooding 130 homes in DeBary.

This hurricane season, which started June 1 but typically doesn’t kick into high gear until August and September, is expected to be a “little more than active,” Williamson said.

Weather officials are predicting 14 named storms, with 7 of those turning into hurricanes and three of those becoming major hurricanes,  Williamson said.

DeBary’s fledging stormwater system is doing a good job with routine storms. But a 2-foot deluge in one day would overwhelm the city’s system of pipes, pumps, ponds, hoses and lakes.

“If we have another Tropical Storm Fay,  we’re going to have flooding, even though we’ve spent a lot of money and we’ve put in a lot of infrastructure. Now, the flooding won’t be as bad. We can move the water much more quickly but we still have a lot of low areas in DeBary,” Williamson said.

He’s concerned about residents’ level of preparedness.

“The public won’t be ready. The public’s not ready. There’s a lot of complacency within the nation. ‘This disaster won’t happen to me. It can’t happen to me.’  Why not?” he asked rhetorically, “Whenever there’s a disaster in a small area, you always hear people say, ‘we didn’t think it would happen here.’ Why not? you need to assume the worst everywhere.”

He said the city has taken other steps besides making the stormwater upgrades. Officials have contracts in place with businesses to remove debris quickly after the storm.

A temporary disposal site has been identified. The Orange City Fire Department and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office will provide whatever services is needed from their agencies, according to Williamson said.

The city has pumps to move water out of local ponds and generators to power traffic lights if they go out.

But residents need to prepare for their specific needs in case of storms.

“That’s what we expect them to do: Help themselves,” Williamson said.

When the winds get too fast, emergency responders will be grounded until conditions improve. Residents should prepare to fend for themselves for as long as 72 hours until the storms die down, he said.

The city’s major concern during storms is in the southeast quadrant because residents are on wells. If the power goes out, those residents won’t be able to get water pumped out of their wells.

“It doesn’t even take a storm to knock power out because if I had told you a week ago a snake will crawl into an electrical outlet or electrical component and black out 6,000 people you would have laughed at me,” Williamson said. Well, happened last week. So it doesn’t take a storm to cause problems.”

A snake caused a power outage after crawling into a Duke Energy facility on DeBary Avenue in Enterprise on Sunday, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Duke Energy said 6,131 customers, mostly DeBary-area ones, lost power at 9:42 p.m. and the outages lasted from 38 to 54 minutes.

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