Lightning struck three people on Fort Myers Beach in Florida, killing one and sending two others to the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Lee County Sheriff’s officials have identified the man who died as Scott Wilcox, 41, of Lehigh Acres. Chelsea Gill, 16, and Zac Latawiec, 14, also from Lehigh Acres, were seriously injured.
Matt Rector, who works at a stand on the beach and is CPR certified, ran towards the victims following the strike. “There was a girl on her knees and a guy laying next to her,” Rector said, adding the third victim was “obviously deceased and looked like he was struck in the head. The blood ran down to the water.”
During this tragic event, the storm was so intense with such frequent lightning that emergency responders and law enforcement officials were forced to stay inside their vehicles for some time. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
Lightning in Florida
Florida is the number one state for lightning deaths. Often referred to as “the lightning capital of the world,” Florida thunderstorms generate hundreds of thousands of bolts that cause billions of dollars in damage each year. The humid climate and the number of outdoor activities make residents and visitors particularly vulnerable. Since thunderstorms are a part of everyday life in Florida, people often take that danger for granted.
Detecting Lightning with Technology
The WeatherBug Total Lightning Network monitors lightning flashes across the nation. Our network detects and monitors both ground strikes and in-cloud lightning, using advanced sensors and patent-pending technology. In this case, we detected the first lightning strike 118 minutes prior to the fatal strike, approximately 5.88 miles from the beach area. Our free WeatherBug mobile app alerts to lightning nearby through the Spark™ lightning detection feature.
Lightning is very dangerous and should not to be taken lightly — please download WeatherBug and use Spark to stay safer from lightning threats.
Stay Safe. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team