Woman Captures Shocking Moment Lightning Strikes Car Four Times During Major Storm

by Lauren Boisvert

On July 7, a woman in Tampa Bay, FL captured an astounding video of lightning striking a car four times. You know the old saying “lightning never strikes the same place twice”? Someone tell that to this lightning. Tampa Bay lightning is clearly of a different breed. At least it wasn’t this 500-mile lightning bolt from February.

In the video, which can be seen here, the woman is a passenger in a car driving behind a pickup truck. The cars drive along for a moment, before there’s a bright flash, and lightning strikes the truck. It strikes four times, then blazes into a fiery line and shower of sparks that hits the camera car.

The camerawoman, Michaelle May Whalen, spoke about the incident. “It started to storm and I thought the lightning was neat, so I was trying to snap a picture of the lightning and missed every time,” she said. According to Whalen, her husband was driving the truck that was hit, as she and her family were returning from vacation. Whalen claimed no one was hurt in the incident, but that the truck was toast.

A meteorologist with the National Lightning Safety Council, Chris Vagasky, saw the video, and estimated that the truck was hit by a group of four bolts. “This looks like a 4 stroke lightning flash with the fourth stroke potentially having continuing current,” he explained in a retweet. “Assume driving 60 mph. 4 car lengths is ~60 feet. 60 mph is 88 feet per second, so 2/3 of a second to travel. Lightning flash can be 1 sec long.”

No wonder this strange occurrence happened in the Tampa Bay area; Florida is still the lightning capital of the United States. According to a Global Lightning Density Map, Florida has about 83 events per square kilometer annually.

Lightning Strikes Tree, Causes it to Burn from Inside Out

Back in March, another strange lightning occurrence happened, this time in Hawaii. A lightning bolt struck a tree on the Big Island, causing it to weirdly burn from the inside out. One Hawaii resident, Jessica Gauthier, captured the incident on camera, as it was near her office.

In the video, red and orange flames engulf the tree. Since it’s burning from the inside, the bark of the tree basically glows. The light undulates across and inside the tree, billowing smoke into the sky. It’s definitely a rare sight, especially for those working in the office right near the tree.

“My colleague Daniel Thompson ran outside just after a huge hit, and came running back in to say the tree was on fire right in front of our building,” Gauthier explained. “I called 911, and Hilo FD came to put it out. No one was hurt. You could see debris from the hit scattered on the ground. It was wild!”

Gauthier also explained that she’d never seen anything happen like that before. “Hilo gets rain often but not thunderstorms,” she said. “It was a big event for our sleepy town.”