Rare 7-stroke lightning flash led to Covington damage

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:37 PM EDT
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(COVINGTON, VA)-WHSV

Incredible damage from a lightning strike at the Covington public works from storms last Thursday.

Chris Vagasky is a Meteorologist specializing in lightning research and said this was a rare event.

“It was 7 cloud to ground strokes from the same lightning channel and hit the same point on the ground.”

That’s right. Lightning struck the same spot seven times, in less than one second.

“That sent a lot of electricity into the ground which seems to have ignited something underground. It was an unused underground gas storage tank that exploded and caused a lot of damage at that facility.”

Many around the Covington area were shocked at how much damage was left from a lightning strike.

the Mayor of Covington says, “I’ve seen trees stuck by lightning, I’ve seen the power of lighting but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The damage, a crater in the asphalt, a truck flipped over, and asphalt coming through the roof.

Thankfully, no was was hurt.

Vagasky explains how unique this bolt was. “The more strokes that you have the rarer it is. The most I’ve seen is eleven. So to have seven come down the same channel and hit that same point, that’s a lot of electricity to hit the same point in just fractions of a second.”

Lightning strike deaths have declined over the last several decades and 2021 was a record low year for the number of lightning deaths. Considering there’s no way to predict exactly where lighting will strike, this is a good thing to see the number of lightning deaths declining.

From NOAA
From NOAA(WHSV)