NPS Digest is reporting this morning that twelve Blue Ridge Parkway visitors were injured - two of them were hospitalized - after being struck indirectly by lightning in two separate incidents - one week apart.
On July 17th, a husband and wife from Conover, North Carolina, were traveling the parkway and stopped at Grandfather Mountain Overlook to don rain gear when it began to rain. While at the overlook, lightning struck a nearby hemlock tree, knocking the couple off their feet. The wife began experiencing cardiac issues and eventually went into cardiac arrest. Her husband began CPR and revived her. Both were initially transported to Cannon Hospital in Linville Falls, where the husband was treated and released. The wife was transported to Charlotte, North Carolina, for further treatment and evaluation.
At least 17 people were struck by lightning during this same time frame: 4 in the Grand Canyon, 3 in Glacier National Park, 9 on a farm in Colorado, and 1 in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hikers and outdoor recreationalists should know what to do in case you're ever caught in the backcountry during a thunderstorm.
Hiking in the Smokies