National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Swimming in Lake


I was swimming in Donner Lake in the Sierra Nevada. At the other end of the lake, 2.7 miles away, we saw clouds coming but didn't think much of it. I was treading water when all of a sudden BAM! and it felt like all my bones broke. A bolt had hit a boulder on the side of the lake and the current went through the water. My sister was with me and she described it as having all of her joints dislocated. We swam as fast as we could to the shore but the swim seemed to take forever, like a nightmare. I was shaking afterword but thankfully we were fine. The people on the shore felt the shock too but not as severely. They didn't seem to understand the terror and pain.