More lightning strikes felt around Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More lightning strikes felt around Albany

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany Firefighters say more homes and other buildings are being hit by lightning this year than usual. It happened several times over the weekend.

Afternoon storms like these can pack a real punch, with strong lightning. WALB was one of the victims.

Just before 5 p.m. Sunday, lightning hit WALB's building, damaging several pieces of equipment. Firefighters were called to check out a smoke odor but found no fire.

About a mile away on North Slappey and 8th Avenue, lightning hit a tree outside an office for the Institutional First Baptist Church. Pastor Dr. E.G. Sherman, Junior was inside.

"I knew it happened because I jumped up to make sure I was still alive," said Sherman.

The large pine tree was barked in more than a dozen places. Two of the three TV's in the building were knocked out. For firefighters, it was another busy afternoon.

"We're having more strikes because we're having more storms coming through," said Albany Fire Department Chief James Carswell. "It's relative. The more storms we have roll through our area, the more opportunity there is for lightning to strike."

Firefighters say no two lightning strikes are alike. One can set a house ablaze, while another does something entirely different. There's no sure method to prevent a strike.

"You can do things to protect your electrical products by disconnecting them, [and] turning them off. I think one of the leading causes of people getting hit by lightning is being on a phone," said Carswell.

Dr. Sherman said he now understands his grandmother's fear of lightning better.

"I can see why my grandmother used to get in the closet when we would have lightning.  She said that it wasn't just going to find her sitting around.  It's going to have to knock her out of the closet," said  Sherman.

Grandmothers always seem to have some sound advice.

This is Lightning safety week and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency encourages you to be prepared for severe storms and lightning. You can learn more here.

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