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Incredible Footage of Storm Chaser Launched by Lightning Strike

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
May 28, 2014; 7:13 PM

Storm chaser Scott Sheppard captured incredible video as a lightning bolt struck his arm and sent him flying back during a South Dakota thunderstorm.

The video shows dust and dirt shooting up into the air after the current from the lightning passed through Scott's body and hit the ground. The end of the footage shows the hole that was left in the pavement. Sheppard survived the strike.

According to SevereStudios, Sheppard's truck and another nearby vehicle were disabled as a result of the strike. The vehicles had to be towed.

So far this year, four people have been killed by lightning, according to NOAA. Just last week, a 44-year-old man was killed by lightning while riding his motorcycle in Cimarron, New Mexico. Two men have died in Florida this month, one while fishing and one while walking to his truck to close the windows before the rain began. A fourth fatality occurred in Texas on May 9.

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More people are killed or injured by lightning during the summer months than at any other time of the year. Most of these fatalities occur during leisure activities, which is why it is crucial for people to heed storm warnings and head indoors if lightning is imminent.

Lightning strikes near the AccuWeather, Inc., Global Headquarters building in State College, Pa., on May 27, 2014. (Photo/Vern Horst)

Whenever there is thunder, there is a risk of lightning strikes. The best protection from lightning is a sturdy, enclosed building. Gazebos, tents, picnic pavilions and other structures without walls do not offer proper protection from lightning. While a secure building is the best choice for avoiding lightning, a car with closed windows can also offer protection. Open vehicles and golf carts, however, are not safe.

Lightning can strike a person directly, as in this video, but people are more likely to be injured by indirect contact, such as being hit with a ground current if lightning strikes a nearby tree.

If reasonable shelter cannot be safely accessed as a storm hits, there are ways to minimize the risks. This includes crouching as low to the ground as possible while covering as little ground as one is able to. Avoid anything that is a good electrical conductor.

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