Washington: Four people incurred life-threatening injuries Thursday evening after a lightning struck in Lafayette Square, just north of the White House, according to fire officials.
Among those injured are 2 adult males and 2 adult females. The details of the incident were given by District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (DC Fire and EMS) on its social media handle. The four adults were found at the center of the Lafayette Square just before 7 p.m. Thursday.
The department transported all four to area hospitals. DC Fire and EMS said that all had critical life-threatening injuries.
The fire department said that they will establish a media staging area for the Lafayette Park lightning strike. Briefing will take place at 8:30 PM at the media staging area.
Fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said, the four adults were found in the center of the park, about 100 feet from the statue of Andrew Jackson.
The precise cause of their injuries remains under investigation, authorities said.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for much of the Beltway area between 6:30 and 7:15 p.m., cautioning of the threat of damaging wind gusts up to 60 mph and quarter-size hail.
The lightning was unleashed by a severe thunderstorm that swept across the District just before 7 p.m.
Chris Vagasky, an analyst for Vaisala, which operates a national lightning network, said in a message that there was a "6 stroke flash near the White House that hit the same point on the ground" at 6:49 p.m. He explained that means six individual surges of electricity hit the same point on the ground within half a second.
Numerous storms, containing frequent lightning, flared up in the region Thursday evening after the temperature soared into the mid-to-upper 90s earlier in the day, prompting a heat advisory. Heat indexes, a measure of how hot it feels factoring in humidity, reached 100 to 110 degrees, Washington Post reported.
The heat-fueled storms unleashed a wind gust to 58 mph at Reagan National Airport and toppled trees around Winchester, Columbia and Baltimore. The torrents also spurred multiple reports of flooded roads around Baltimore.
Notably, lightning kills 23 people in the United States in an average year and has resulted in nine fatalities so far in 2022.