National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

On Telephone and Touching Stove


Hello my name is Jennifer, I live in Pensacola, FL and I was struck by lightning on June 21, 2003. The weather was rainy, however no thunder or lightning. My husband and 12 year old son were outside on our covered patio when lightning and thunder hit at the same time directly over our brick home.

My husband said the flash was bright and the thunder sounded like a cannon going off. He hurried my son and himself into the house only to find me at my stove with lightning running through my body and out the front of my legs. I was on our phone when lightning entered through my left ear traveled down my body and out the front of my legs. The lightning formed a big orb around my legs and then dissipated into the floor. The phone was shot out of my hand and into the pot on the back burner of the stove.

I had discoloration to both fronts of my lower leg area and bruising, however no burns, and only one blister. The phone, ironically, still works however the charge was drained out of it. My stove works. There were no burn marks found any where in or around the outside of the house, however the garage door opener was fried!

I hurt like my joints were brittle and were going to break if I moved; however I was able to communicate and move my body. My husband took me to the hospital and on the way to the hospital I started twitching slightly and feeling cold from the inside out. I went into seizures approximately 30 minutes after the strike and they lasted about 3 hours. I spent a couple of days in the hospital. I was left unable to walk on my own but could move all my muscles. My vision was blurry for weeks. Now I am able to focus better, however my eyes feel strained continually. Headaches and tremors are frequent, and thankfully decreasing in the intensity and frequency. Everything in my body was shaking for weeks and I was cold continually.

It took 6 weeks to feel warmth again in my body, I am able to walk now and am in physical therapy 3 days a week. I have memory loss, vision problems, hypersensitive hearing, numbness, and all over weakness. I am so thankfully to be a live and know that I am blessed to still be here!