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Fox News Weather Center

Lightning Blamed for Rio de Janeiro Statue Damage

Lightning is being blamed for damaging the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Officials told the Associated Press that the right thumb of the statue was chipped during an apparent lightning strike Thursday night.

Data obtained by AccuWeather.com from the city's Santos Dumont Airport verifies that thunderstorms were in the area from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. local time Thursday (3 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST).

Winds gusted to nearly 90 kph (55 mph) as the thunderstorms arrived.

The airport does not report weather observations between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. local time.

"A stalled frontal boundary near Rio de Janeiro helped trigger some thunderstorms over the past couple of days," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Rob Miller.

"This front will remain over the area through early next week, fueling more spotty afternoon thunderstorms."

It is not unusual for the 38-meter (125-foot) statue that sits at the top of a steep mountain to be struck by lightning. Much like the Empire State Building in New York City, it is a prime target for lightning strikes.

The Associated Press reports that repairs to the statue will soon be made.