Lightning Strikes At The Beach: What Happens? Could It Happen To You?

lightning hits water

Over the weekend, 14 people were injured when lightning struck at Venice Beach in California, killing one man. The lightning storm appeared over the popular beach and struck the water, causing the majority of the injuries and one fatality. While injuries from lighting at the beach is a rare occurrence, it could very easily happen again.

According to The Weather Channel, Saturday’s storm was an anomaly caused by strong monsoons hitting from Arizona in the east.

“Thunderstorms are uncommon at the beach in Los Angeles any time of year, but particularly in July,” said The Weather Channel’s senior digital meteorologist Nick Wiltgen. “Rain does not often reach the California beaches in July, but in this case monsoon moisture from the deserts drifted farther west than usual, allowing some showers and thunderstorms to fire up.”

Monsoon season is in full swing in Arizona, with microbursts causing intense damage in north Phoenix late Saturday night. It was one of these storms that crossed over into California and created the electrical storm that hit Venice Beach. With Arizona experiencing a particularly active monsoon season, another storm could easily head west and once again attack a public beach.

According to an article in The Washington Post, getting struck by lightning can be devastating. Victims suffer from brain damage as the high voltage will fry the brain in the skull, the heat can cause clothes to catch fire, it can cause the heart to stop, metal jewelry can melt, causing additional damage, eardrums can rupture, and long term nerve damage can cause the victim to experience Parkinson’s like symptoms for many years after being struck. A person can even be knocked out of their boots, as explained in a previous story in The Inquisitr.

All of the above can be considerably worse when you add water to the mix, as we’ve all learned in science class; water and electricity don’t play well together. For the bathers at Venice Beach on Sunday, the lightning storm proved to be incredibly dangerous. If you are outside during a lightning storm, seek shelter immediately. If you are in or around water, get out and as far away as possible. The Discovery Channel highlights other ways to avoid getting struck by lightning. Avoid corded telephone lines, concrete, metal rods–like antennas–and trees, especially stand alone trees. If at all possible, if you are outside shelter, find a vehicle and refrain from touching the metal body outside.

The lightning storm at Venice Beach was a very rare event, but knowing how to protect yourself when a storm comes up may just save your life. And if you are at the beach when a storm hits, treat it like a great white shark and get out of the water.

[Image courtesy of asa100.com]