3 struck, injured by lightning in New York City area on Tuesday

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 08, 2018, 11:33:10 PM EDT

Thunderstorms rolling through the New York City area struck and seriously injured three men on Tuesday.

Two men, aged 30 and 42, were struck by lightning while playing soccer in Flushing Meadows Park in Corona, Queens, around 7:30 p.m. EDT on Aug. 7. Around the same time, a third man was struck in South Jamaica, Queens.

The two men in Corona are in serious condition while the man in South Jamaica suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Radar - NYC area

A lightning strike also started a fire near a Long Island Rail Road substation on Tuesday evening, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. CBS New York reported that while service was suspended for some lines, all service has since resumed on a modified schedule.

"Even though lightning fatalities in the United States have been on the decline since records began in the 1940s, lightning continues to be a leading weather-related killer on a national and worldwide basis each year," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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So far this year, there have been 15 reported deaths due to lightning, according to the National Weather Service. Of them, the majority have occurred in Florida, followed by Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Alabama and Georgia. Twelve of the victims have been male.

People were struck while standing near or under trees, fishing, lingering on the beach and staying out in the open in general.

nyc lightning

The bolt from a lightning storm hits the spire on top of the One World Trade Center tower in New York City, late Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

"Always move indoors at the first rumble of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are at risk of being struck by lightning," Sosnowski said.

He also stressed that the safest place to be during a storm is in a home or building with a roof and enclosed walls. Avoid standing near windows and screen doors or on porches and beneath overhangs, and never stand under a tree or a small group of trees.

If hiking, move down the mountainside as quickly as possible. A widespread, thick forested area in a valley is a relatively safe option when hiking or camping when a vehicle is too far away.

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