Storm Isaias: Two killed by lightning in wake of hurricane

·2 min read
Residents of Wilmington clean up tree branch debris after Hurricane Isaias made landfall near the town the night before in Wilmington, North Carolina on 4 August 2020: (2020 Getty Images)
Residents of Wilmington clean up tree branch debris after Hurricane Isaias made landfall near the town the night before in Wilmington, North Carolina on 4 August 2020: (2020 Getty Images)

Two men have died after being struck by lightning in North Carolina, while clearing debris from Tropical Storm Isaias that recently hit the state.

The incident occurred on Wednesday at around 11.49am on Bradley Overbrook Road in Wilmington, and the authorities confirmed that “the two male victims were struck while trying to cut down trees,” to minimise the risk of them falling after damage from the storm.

They were later identified by the Wilmington Police Department as 77-year-old Ralph Thomas Wallace and 42-year-old Moo Saw Kefauver.

The lightning strike that killed the two men also damaged a house next door to them, which caused a small fire in the home’s attic, but no injuries were reported.

North Carolina is among the top ten states for lightning related deaths, and the two men were the first to have died after being struck by lightning in North Carolina since August 2019, according to Fox News.

Speaking to WECT-TV, Wilmington Police Department spokesperson Jessica Williams asked residents to be careful during storms.

“As soon as you hear thunder, go inside or seek shelter in a hard-topped vehicle,” Ms Williams said. “Wait until 30 minutes after the storm ends to resume outdoor activities.”

Tropical Storm Isaias hit the US on Tuesday and crossed onto land about 40 miles south of Wilmington, after it caused devastation in parts of the Caribbean.

At least five people in the US have died as a direct result from the storm, as it travelled from North Carolina to New York and through to Canada.

A man in New York and a person in Maryland died after trees fell onto their cars during the storm, as homes were flooded and millions of people were left without power.

Ms Williams added that “an everyday thunderstorm can be deadly,” and said the department “urge people to please be careful and not underestimate the weather.”

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