BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A day after a man was hospitalized after nearly being struck by lightning at Patapsco Valley State Park, officials are warning people about the dangers of being caught outdoors when thunder roars.

Fire officials are not calling Thursday’s incident direct strike but said the force from a lightning strike threw the man down a hill, seriously injuring him.

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Storms popped up over the park around 2 p.m. A bolt of lightning from the storm hit a tree just inches from the man, who was out hiking.


“He was on a trail when lightning struck,” said Lt. Travis Francis with the Baltimore County Fire Department. “The force from the lightning caused him to be thrown from the trail down the hill. He was unsure where he was.”

Rescue crews needed an ATV to rescue him.

He was taken to Shock Trauma with serious injuries.

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Last year, lightning struck a father and his two kids in Patterson Park, sending them to the hospital.

Thursday, a South Carolina man was fatally struck by lightning at a Fourth of July cookout, the seventh lighting-related fatality of 2019, according to the National Weather Service.

On average, 49 people die each year in the U.S. from lightning strikes, and hundreds more are injured.

Emergency officials remind people of the importance of planning for any outdoor activities.

“The one thing we can stress here is the importance of knowing the weather forecast,” Francis said.

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Even so, it’s incredibly rare to be struck by lightning; the National Weather Service said you have a 0.00006 percent chance of being struck in your lifetime.

Paul Gessler