Several Lightning Strikes Reported In West Virginia

In addition to high winds and rounds of heavy rain, this summer of storms has brought dangerous lightning to parts of West Virginia.

Several cases of lightning striking people or causing damage to buildings have been reported throughout the Mountain State in recent weeks.

Kanawha County Deputy Emergency Manager and Fire Coordinator C.W. Sigman says those cases should serve as reminders to take lightning seriously every time.

"Right now is the prime season for lightning strikes, during thunderstorm season.  Just don’t get complacent about it," Sigman said.

In Wood County, two brothers were injured Wednesday when lightning hit the awning of a camper they were working to put into place.  It happened at the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition in Mineral Wells.

Another man was checked as a precaution at the same site, that same day after lightning hit a metal pole near where he’d been sitting.

Last week, an 18 year old from Harrison County was struck by lightning while at church camp in Parkersburg.  He was released from the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery.

Lightning also struck near an auto shop in Vienna earlier this week.  A man was treated as a precaution after that incident.

Whenever storms roll in, Sigman says you need to take cover.  "You don’t want to go under just a tiny little canopy or a very small picnic or rain shelter or you definitely don’t want to be under a tree," he said.

"You need to use a more substantial building or enclosed car."

If you are in an open area with no shelter options, "Put your feet together.  Put your hands over your ears and, in a crouching position, stay as low as possible," Sigman says.

"It’s going to be scary any way you cut it if you’re outside in an open field and you’ve got lightning striking around you."

In the United States, the National Weather Service estimates an average of 54 people are killed by lightning each year.  So far this year, there have been 14 deaths nationwide.

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