A lightning strike sent a swim instructor to a Lauderdale Lakes hospital Monday morning, police said.
The 27-year-old woman, who was not named, was struck at around 9 a.m. at the Lauderdale Lakes Swimming Pool Complex, Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Jachles said. She was taken to Florida Medical Center.
“It was an indirect strike,” Jachles said. “Otherwise she wouldn’t be conscious, alert and headed to a neighborhood hospital.”
Florida, known as the “lightning capital of the United States,” sees thunderstorms and lightning almost every day from May to October. The sea breezes and muggy summer weather create an environment conducive for storms.
Two of the four lightning-related deaths in 2017 happened in Florida — one in Jensen Beach and one in Pembroke Pines. The other two happened in Texas and Colorado.
A construction worker was killed in June after he was struck on the grounds of Pines City Center in Pembroke Pines. The Pines Fire operations chief said Edwin Ramos Jarquin Armas, 33, may have taken a direct hit by the strike.
The lightning strike of a Fort Pierce man in May was another case of a construction worker killed on site. Guadalupe Salinas, 46, was struck while pouring cement for a new pool in Martin County. He died a few weeks later.
Based on the past 10 years, the U.S. averages nine lightning deaths by June 21. However, that number typically rises later in the summer. According to the National Weather Service, lightning injures as many as five people every summer in Florida alone.
According to the University of Florida, the state experiences storms 100 days out of the year. UF reports that the most dangerous storm area runs from St. Augustine to Lake Okeechobee and from east to west coasts. Of the 100 people killed by lightning each year in the United States, 10 percent are from Florida, and of the nearly 600 injured, 5 percent are in state.
According to the National Weather Service, strong thunderstorms are expected to continue into Monday evening and could include frequent lightning strikes, gusty winds and heavy rainfall.