MIAMI – Summer storms in South Florida can not only bring heavy rain but dangerous lightning.
Over the weekend, a lightning strike in North Lauderdale sparked a fire that destroyed two townhomes and severely damaged two others at Winner Circle.
Though lightning strikes that cause serious damage or injury, or even death, are rare they do happen.
The title “Lightning Capital of America” actually isn’t always Florida’s to claim.
“Within the past two years it’s been going back and forth between Kansas and Florida,” said NEXT Weather meteorologist Jennifer Correa.
She said, on average, Florida gets 1.2 million lightning flashes per year.
“Thunderstorm here can easily produce 20 strikes in just a few minutes,” said Correa. “The thing is lightning is very hot, it can be hotter than the surface of the sun, it can be hot as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.”
That’s enough to cause a fire as it did over the weekend. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue also responded to a lightning incident over the weekend.
“Normally when we respond to any type of weather incident involving lightning, it’s normally a building that’s been struck,” said Batallion Fire Chief Stephen Gollan.
While lightning happens frequently, he urged people not to be complacent about it.
“You know all of our parks, golf courses, and swimming pools, have those alarms. When you hear the sirens go off, or it’s one long blast by the air horn, it’s time to get indoors,” he said.
To keep up with the latest weather conditions, download the CBS4 app for its NEXT Weather forecasts and storm tracking. It can be downloaded from either the Apple or Android store.