Published October 14, 2013
Professional angler Tucker K. Owings had a dangerously close call on Lake Athens in Texas on Oct. 12 when lightning struck the water in front of his boat.
A cold front cutting down into Texas from the Midwest combined with moisture off of the Gulf of Mexico to create enough instability in the air to set of a series of violent thunderstorms on Saturday. The area received nearly an inch of rain during the storms, which grew stronger as the day warmed up.
Being out on open water during a thunderstorm is an incredibly dangerous place to be. The safest locations for protection from deadly lightning strikes are in an enclosed building, or a car with the windows rolled all the way up.
According to NOAA, 62 percent of all lightning fatalities occur during a leisure activity, typically because people do not want to end their activity and get inside. So far this year, four people have been killed by lightning while out on the water in a boat or canoe. Another three lost their lives while next to a body of water. All 23 lightning fatalities to date in 2013 occurred when people were outside or in an unsecured shelter.