Man struck by lightning in Heard County, firefighters say

Officials say a lightning strike injured a person in Heard County.

Few details have been released about the incident which happened around Thaxton Road around 5:10 p.m. Thursday.

Heard County firefighters say the patient was alert, conscious and breathing at the time. Medics arrived at the scene to evaluate and treat the person. The condition of that person was not immediately known.

FOX 5 Storm Team captures lightning strike on radar

The FOX 5 Storm Team was tracking a cluster of storms which was moving through the county Thursday afternoon that produced several lightning strikes.


An image caught by FOX 5 Live VIPIR shows several strikes in the Thaxton Road around that time.

The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning ahead of those strikes.

What to do if lightning is near

FOX 5 Storm Team Chief Meteorologist David Chandley says when there is lightning in the area, no outdoor area should be considered safe. If thunder is heard, a storm capable of producing lightning is close enough to strike.

The 30/30 rule is one of the most important tips to stay safe during a lighting storm. If it takes less than 30 seconds to hear thunder after seeing a flash of lightning, it is near enough to pose a threat. Once thunder can no longer heard, wait 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activities.

For those who want to get an estimate of how far away a lightning strike is, count the number of seconds it takes to hear thunder and for every 5 seconds, it equals one mile.

How to stay safe during a lightning storm:

  • Stay away from windows, and remain indoors
  • Don’t seek shelter under a tree, find a shelter
  • For those who can’t get indoors, crouch low, with as little of the body touching the ground to minimize the surface area
  • Avoid water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through plumbing

Also, make sure to have a device or app which can warn of approaching storms. A NOAA Weather Radio or the FOX 5 Storm Team app, which when properly setup, can give alerts about lightning in the area.

Facts about lightning

Lightning is both powerful and mesmerizing, and these facts point out:

  • A lightning flash is no more than one-inch wide.
  • Lightning appears to flicker because it may actually be up to four different strokes in the exact same place.
  • Lightning kills and injures more people each year than hurricanes or tornadoes; between 75 and 100 people.
  • Lightning is approximately 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s five times hotter than the surface of the sun!
  • Lightning seems to be a clear or white-yellow color, but it also depends on the background.
  • During the summer months, you can see lightning up to 100 miles away (This is not called ‘heat lightning’)