A baby that was delivered shortly after his mother was struck by lightning last month in Fort Myers, Florida, has died.
The National Weather Service said the mother was nine months pregnant when she was struck June 30.
This is the 6th lightning death of the year and the 4th in Florida. Based on the past 10 years, the U.S. averages 16 strike-related fatalities through July 13.
While the number of lightning deaths this year is low, July is typically the month with the most lightning fatalities.
Neighbors said in 911 calls to the Lee County Department of Public Safety that the weather was a little cloudy, but not raining, according to ABC News.
“Then, all of a sudden, there was a flash of lightning,” a neighbor told the 911 operator. “It startled my son.”
Lightning can strike from 10 miles away, even when there are sunny skies.
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.
The bolt that shoots down is about the width of a finger, said Hamid Rassoul, dean of the Florida Institute of Technology’s College of Science.
“The charge happens the same way your shoes rubbing on a carpet can create a charge,” Rassoul said. “If the clouds get charged, we know they have to discharge, and the cloud is looking for the easiest way (to discharge), the tallest object.”
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