One dead in South Florida lightning strike

The Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department has confirmed that a woman is dead and man injured after a lightning strike just before 2 p.m. today.

Mike Moser, division chief and public information officer for the department, said he didn’t have identities or ages of victims.

“When we arrived, we declared one deceased at the scene and another was transported to Broward Health North in critical condition,” Moser.

Related: Know the facts about lightning safety

The strike occurred at C.W. Hendrix Farms in Parkland. The farm is west of U.S. 441 and south of Loxahatchee Road.

Moser said he didn’t know if the victims were workers or visitors to the farm, which grows produce.

“We believe you can go there as a consumer and walk out into the field, but we don’t know,” Moser said.

The farm is surrounded by open fields, which could make anyone working in the area a target for lightning. Lighting tends to hit the tallest object nearby.

C.W. Hendrix Farms. Photo by Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Ryan DiPentima,

The woman killed today is the second lightning-related death in Florida this year.

The first death happened in April when lightning slammed into a tree at the Woodpecker Mud Bog north of Lake City, killing 23-year-old Kourtney Lambert.

Five people were killed in Florida in lightning-related incidents in 2017.

The National Weather Service office in Miami began tracking a strong thunderstorm at 1:55 p.m. over Parkland and near Coral Springs. It issued weather advisories for the area at 1:56 p.m. and 2:27 p.m.

This week’s storms, fueled by afternoon sea breezes and given a shot of power from a low pressure area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, have been heavy with lightning.

Related: Sunny skies don’t mean you’re safe from lightning. 

Lightning forms when strong updrafts in towering cumulonimbus clouds force molecules to collide, creating an electric charge. Lightning rapidly heats a narrow channel of air to temperatures as high as 54,000 degrees, which prompts the emission of light and a crack of thunder as super-heated air expands rapidly, producing shockwaves.

Lightning deaths reached an all time low in the U.S. in 2017 with just 16 people killed, according to a National Weather Service report.

Still, Florida typically leads the nation

Florida Division of Corporations filings indicate the farm is owned by Charles W. Hendrix.

Lightning strikes south of Belvedere Road near I-95 in West Palm Beach on July 9, 2009. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

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