National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Glenn, Long Beach Island, NJ, 2012

My story was my birthday turning 50. My wife and sons asked what do I wanted for my birthday?  My expected answer was a weekend on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. The town of Beach Haven is where my favorite hotel is. June 7, 2012, was a beautiful beach day, so the four of us walked to the beach and set up our things for the day.

As the day goes on the west side of island, we could all see a dark gray weather front approaching the area. We have seen this kind of weather many times over the years. As the front approached, we could see far west to the mainland on New Jersey, which was clear and beautifully blue. So we figured the front will be around 15 minutes as it passes.

As the front was over us, it started to lightly rain. My wife and I tucked in under an umbrella and my sons continued playing catch. The rain continued and then it started to get windy so I brought the umbrella down to block the wind. My wife and I were dry and blocked from the wind. We were happy knowing this will be over in minutes. Well NO warning, NO area thunder, a bolt of lightning blinded us like a flashbulb, hitting the umbrella I was holding (a sizzle boom I call it). I felt the lightning travel through my left arm into my chest and then out my feet in the sand. I yelled some choice words. My wife said I was talking and moving my arms and legs so I looked OK. About 15 seconds went by and again. BOOM another bolt hit down beach about 100 feet away from us. Panic set in so we all ran off the beach, left everything behind except car keys, jumped in the van and drove back to the hotel.

I had a very large glass of vodka and couldn't believe what happened. When I finished my drink we all went back to our beach spot and our phones and my wallet were still there. The sun came back out. I was sore for a few days and now have a new respect for thunderstorms. Happy birthday to me.