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Lightning Kills Largo Man


Largo Police said an 81-year-old man was out for a walk, got caught in a storm and he was struck by lightning Friday. The man, Jay Freres, did not survive.

Summertime in Florida is typically wet with gully washers virtually every day. Bay News 9 Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay said daily storms are why the state is known as the "lightning capital of the world" and not because the lightning here is more intense. 

So what's a person to do on a day when there's lightning? 

Clay said historically in Florida, "most of the people killed by lightning are killed by one of the first strikes or one of the last strikes." That is because most people stay inside when the storm is going full force. 

"At the end of the storm, we always recommend you wait 30 minutes after you've heard the last thunder. So if you've waited 20 minutes and the kids aren't in the pool yet, and you hear thunder again, then you have to reset your clock and wait 30 minutes, because even as the storm is dying it can still produce cloud to ground lightning," Clay said.

The National Weather Service website reports there have been seven lightning fatalities in six different states so far this year, not including the death of Freres in Largo.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has several Lightning Safety Tips including "if you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you."

I love telling stories about my home state. And I hope they will help you in some way and maybe even lift your spirits.
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