Lightning Injures Kids in Texas

Three kids playing soccer were hospitalized after being struck by lightning at approximately 4:40 pm on August 26 at the Field of Dreams, a sports facility in Bee Cave, Texas. A 10-year-old boy required CPR by EMS professionals and was transported by helicopter to the hospital for treatment. Two other children, a boy and a girl, were sent to the hospital with serious injuries.

The Bee Cave lightning incident is a chilling reminder of Mother Nature at its worst — that it’s possible to be playing on a field outside one moment and struck in the blink of an eye the next.

Credit: Photo by Kim Lusk

Credit: Photo by Kim Lusk

Was this really a bolt from the blue striking completely without warning? To find out, we examined the incident using lightning as detected by our Total Lightning Network. This network monitors lightning flashes across the nation. The network detects and monitors both ground strikes and in-cloud lightning, using advanced sensors and cloud-based technology. In-cloud lightning makes up the vast majority of lightning and often serves as a precursor to severe weather, including cloud-to-ground strikes that injure and even kill people. Tracking in-cloud lightning can increase warning times and help keep people safer.

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t a bolt from the blue after all. The first lightning within a 10-mile radius appeared 21 minutes before the cloud-to-ground strike that struck the kids.

  • 4:19 PM CDT: Approximately 21 minutes prior to the lightning strike, our Total Lightning Network detects in-cloud lightning within an unsafe 10-mile radius around the facility.
  • 4:35 PM CDT: 5 minutes prior to the strike, in-cloud lightning continues 5 miles from the facility.
  • 4:40 PM CDT– Two cloud-to-ground lightning strikes are detected at the facility. Shown are the probable strikes (in yellow) that injured three children.
  • A view of all the lightning -- both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground -- during the event detected by our Total Lightning Network.

Our hearts and prayers are with the children and their families. 

As this incident shows, lightning is very dangerous! In fact, your odds of getting struck over the course of your lifetime is 1 in 6,250 (just compare this to the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot, at 1 in 259 million!).

Please also read our blog post with tips on how to stay safer from lightning.

Please be careful outside as we head into the fall. If you’re concerned about lightning, please download WeatherBug (it’s free) and use Spark to stay safer from lightning threats.

Stay Safe. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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