US

Motorcyclist Killed After Being Struck by Lightning in Florida Amid Severe Weather

By Zachary Stieber

A motorcyclist died in Florida on June 9 after being struck by lightning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said that the man was hit just before 3 p.m. while driving south on I-95 near mile marker 271 in Volusia County, reported WFTV.

The man was identified as a 45-year-old North Carolina resident. He has not been named.

He was hit by lightning on the road, causing him to crash after veering off the pavement.

The lightning hit the motorcyclist’s helmet, shattering it, the highway patrol said.

Highway Patrol shared a picture of the man’s helmet. The black helmet had two large holes near the middle.

An off-duty Virginia State trooper was nearby and saw what happened. The trooper was on vacation in Florida, a Highway Patrol spokeswoman told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

The marks on the helmet confirmed the cause of the crash, the spokeswoman added.

Pictures from the scene showed the motorcycle lying on its side in the grassy area between southbound and northbound I-95, with three patrol cars parked nearby, blocking off two of the three lanes of the highway. All three lanes were closed for a while before one was reopened to traffic.

The lightning strike came as authorities warned of severe weather in the area.

“Many parts of Central Florida are under significant weather advisories this evening, experiencing severe weather, including lightning, heavy rainfall & wind gusts up to 40 mph,” the Orange County Fire Rescue alerted people via Twitter.

The agency said people who hear thunder are within striking distance of lightning and they should look for shelter in a house, building, or hard-topped vehicle.

People should wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder before leaving the shelter.

lightning strike in chicago
Lightning strike in a file photo. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

According to the National Weather Service, there is an average of 43 reported lightning fatalities per year.

About 10 percent of people who are struck by lightning are killed but the other 90 percent are left with various degrees of disability.

“Lightning is a major cause of storm-related deaths in the U.S. A lightning strike can result in a cardiac arrest (heart stopping) at the time of the injury, although some victims may appear to have a delayed death a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage,” the agency stated.