Pat Shingleton: "Fore! and against Lightning"
As a young boy, Matthew Nordbrock was struck by lightning on a lake in Arizona’s White Mountains. On the summit of Mount Whitney, on this date in 1990, he was struck again. Nordbrock and friends from Huntington Beach, California, broke camp and began their ascent of Mount Whitney. By mid-afternoon they were three-quarters of the way up the mountain when a thunderstorm struck. They sought shelter in the old Smithsonian hut, built in 1909 to house equipment for scientists. As reported by “Acts of God, The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” lightning scored a direct hit on the stone house injuring all the occupants. Emergency messages were received by a passing jetliner that contacted Los Angeles air traffic controllers initiating rescue efforts. All survived the lightning hit except for Nordbrock. Local lightning prediction systems target activity minutes before a deadly strike on football fields, baseball diamons and the "links." Once a threshold is reached, horns blast, directing golfers from the course. More than 8,000 Americans have been killed by lightning over a 50 year period. Your chances of being struck by lightning in the United States are 1 in 250,000. Your chances increase if you are golfing. In the United States, between 75 and 150 people are killed by lightning each year with 5 to 30 times that number suffering injuries. The deadliest month for lightning fatalities and injuries in the United States is July. Golfers Lee Trevino and Jerry Heard were hit by lightning during the 1975 Western Open. In Minneapolis on June 13, 1991 a spectator and five others were injured while taking shelter under a tree during the U.S. Open. On that same date, a 37-year-old man was killed by a bolt while golfing near Louisville; two others were injured, while standing under a cluster of trees.