Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Deluge, Lightning Lash Area Storm Forces Evacuations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Deluge, Lightning Lash Area Storm Forces Evacuations

Article excerpt

Lightning hit a Westside home and injured a man reaching into a

refrigerator for a drink. Thousands of other lightning strikes

heated the sky Wednesday night as severe thunderstorms rumbled

through Jacksonville, dumping more than 5 inches of rain in some

areas.

David Williams, 34, of 3130 W. 15th St. said he saw lightning

flash just before he was hurt.

"I had my right hand on the refrigerator door and I was

reaching in with my left hand when, all of a sudden, there was a

boom," he said. "My hand turned red and white and it threw me

from the refrigerator to the doorway entering the living room."

Williams was taken to University Medical Center, where he was

treated and released.

The National Weather Service reported about 5 inches of

rainfall at the Jacksonville International Airport in the 24

hours ending 7 p.m. yesterday. But less than an inch fell during

that period at Cecil Field Naval Air Station on the Westside.

"This is not routine, day-to-day weather, but it is something

that does occur a couple of days in the summer and into the

fall," said Pat Welsh, science officer at the weather service.

At one point during the storm, weather officials said there

were 100 lightning strikes occurring every five minutes, not

many of them touching the ground. Jacksonville isn't far from

the area of Florida that traditionally receives the most

lightning strikes. The most active lightning area in Florida

runs along Interstate 75, from Tampa to Valdosta, Ga., Welsh

said.

On 13th Street in the Northside, rain, combined with heavy

winds, chased about 20 families out of the 182-unit Imperial

Estates apartment complex. Though the U.S. Department of Housing

and Urban Development has been busy making repairs at the

complex since taking it away from the owner in October, the

building wasn't ready to weather the storm.

Jim Walker, HUD's acting area coordinator, said the flooded

tenants were to be moved into a hotel until the apartments could

be repaired.

The rain poured at such a fast pace that flooding became a

problem on some interstate highways. …

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