Jordan Gribble / Houma Courier
A man and two buildings were hit by lightning Monday morning in Houma, authorities said.
Lightning struck the man while he was retrieving his dog from his yard, Houma Fire officials said. It also hit a business and a house. All three calls came in about 8 a.m.
“He told me that he went outside to get his dog that was tied to the tree, and his leash was wrapped around the tree,” District Fire Chief Joe Mouton said of the unidentified man who lives on Afton Street, which runs perpendicular to East Street.
“He went to get him away from the tree and lightning struck nearby and shocked him,” Mouton said, adding he was treated at an area hospital but has since been released.
“He said he saw a really bright light,” Houma Fire Chief Todd Dufrene said.
That type of strike is called a ground current strike, and it occurs when lightning hits a tree or other object and the energy from the lightning travels along the ground. Ground current strikes cause the most lightning related deaths and injuries, according to the National Weather Service.
Houma Firefighters also responded to a business on Magnolia Street and a house on Apache Street, both of which were hit by lightning. Neither building suffered significant damage, authorities said.
The lightning accompanied a line of thunderstorms that rolled through Terrebonne about 8 a.m., dousing morning commuters. It dumped nearly a half inch of rain on Houma within two hours, National Weather Service forecasters said.
The storm produced about 70 lightning strikes “pretty much right on top of Houma” in a 30-minute span that started about 7:45 a.m., according to WWL-TV meteorologists.
Dufrene said Houma firefighters often respond to reports of lightning strikes.
“Lightning striking buildings or people. It's pretty common here in Louisiana,” he said.
To protect yourself or home from lightning strikes, National Weather Service officials suggest staying inside and away from corded phones, computers, electrical equipment and plumbing. Additionally, stay away from doors and windows and off of concrete floors.