June 7, 2013
The recent lightning strike during a rain delay at Yankees stadium demonstrates why people get killed by lightning. Video from the game showed that some of the players from both teams (the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees) remained in the dugout during the thunderstorm --that is, until there was a lightning strike in the immediate vicinity. Fortunately, in this case, no one was killed or injured. But the end results could have been quite different if that strike had been near either dugout or on the field. It's important to remember that dugouts, rain shelters and small sheds are just not safe during thunderstorms. People need to get inside a substantial building or a hard-topped metal vehicle to be safe.
Like the players in the dugout, people often wait for the first nearby lightning strike before seeking safety. That type of behavior could cost you your life, and, unfortunately, has led to numerous lightning deaths and injuries over the years. Hopefully, everyone can learn from this incident that you don't wait to get to a safe place. The players were lucky this time. So were the ground crew and any fans that remained outside. Next time, they may not be so lucky. Let's hope that next time everyone gets to a safe place before lightning strikes nearby.
Lightning Safety Specialist
National Weather Service, NOAA
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