Alabama a 'ripe environment' for lightning strikes

Alabama a 'ripe environment' for lightning strikes

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Over the weekend, a lightning strike killed a man from Valley, Alabama, and Monday morning a child from Vestavia Hills was indirectly struck by lightning.

"We have the ripe environment for it here," said Ernie Baggett, the Director of the Autauga County Emergency Management Agency. "We do get a lot of lightning, a lot of cloud to ground lightning."

According to the National Lighting Institute your risk of being killed by lightning is one in 28,500, and nine out of ten people struck by lightning survive the event; 34-year-old Toby Burrow was the one in 28,500.

Despite those statistics, Baggett said don't test the odds, and at the first sound of thunder, take cover.

"That's as close of a warning as you can get. Right now we don't have a lot of ways to detect lightning from a distance out, and that's very unfortunate. Most of the time we only know about lightning after its happened," said Baggett. "The best precaution is if you start to hear thunder, get away, get out, get inside somewhere, get to a safe location. The best thing to do is just go inside."

Ronald Crumbley of Kellyton, Alabama, hasn't had a close call with lightning just once, twice, or even three times. According to Crumbley, it's happened five times. While some might say he's been struck by bad luck, he considers himself pretty lucky.

"Well I survived, so I guess it was good. My hair stood up, and I started tingling before I could get up." said Crumbley.

There are some who say lightning never strikes the same place twice, and if Crumbley isn't enough proof, the National Weather Service said that lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly.

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