July 7, 2019 4:40 pm
Updated: July 7, 2019 8:46 pm

Coldstream woman says she was jolted after lightning strike near home

“It was a big flash. I saw the lightning and it felt like it was almost in my room because it was on the power pole.”


A Coldstream, B.C., woman claims she was jolted by an electrical current after a lightning strike blew an insulator on a power pole near her home during Saturday night’s storm.

Susan Krystia, 54, said it occurred as she was sitting up in bed on the second floor of her home off Highway 6 around 8:00 p.m.

She said she was looking at her cell phone while it was plugged into the wall and charging. Her window was slightly open.

WATCH: Extended interview: Residents near Vernon witnessed intense lightning activity during Saturday’s storm

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That’s when she heard roaring thunder and lightning.

She said a lightning strike hit a power pole and blew the insulator just feet away from her home.

“A big smoke bomb, and it was so loud,” she told Global News on Sunday.

READ MORE: Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

“It was a big flash. I saw the lightning and it felt like it was almost in my room because it was on the power pole.”

Krystia said she was jolted by a burst of electricity.

“I had pins and needles in my arm and my shoulder was sore,” she said. “It was my right side because I was holding my cell phone while it was being charged, so I got a bit of energy from that.”

WATCH (June 14, 2019): BC Wildfire Service on fire watch after electrical storm

Krystia said several lightning strikes penetrated her and her neighbour’s properties, prompting the Coldstream fire department to respond.

She said she went to Vernon Jubilee Hospital out of precaution and after a series of tests, she was discharged without serious injuries.

“My heart was skipping a little bit in the beginning, but it’s fine,” she said.

READ MORE: Severe thunderstorm watch has ended for B.C.’s Southern Interior

“Never thought it would be me but it is an eye-opener. It’s traumatizing.”

The Coldstream woman said her muscles are weak and sore, but she is otherwise OK. Krystia is now processing the traumatic experience during the intense storm.

“I’ve never seen anything like it — the amount of lightning that came down on our property and the neighbours’.”

Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Okanagan area on Saturday, warning conditions were favourable for thunderstorms and heavy rain.

“Hail and strong wind gusts are also possible. Intense lightning is likely with any thunderstorm that develops. Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads,” the advisory stated.

BC Hydro confirms a power outage occurred in the area around 8:15 p.m. and 1,981 customers lost power until 10:00 p.m.

Community relations advisor Jen Walker-Larsen confirmed an insulator was damaged due to a lightning strike.

Global News has reached out to the Coldstream fire department for comment.

Environment Canada says each year lightning kills approximately 10 Canadians and injures approximately 100 to 150 others.

Meteorologist Trevor Smith said once you take shelter indoors, you should stay away from electrical appliances or anything that will conduct electricity.

“Avoid using a telephone that is connected to a landline or touching devices that are plugged in for charging,” says a lightning safety document issued by the Government of Canada.

It warns people to use battery operated or cordless devices only.

“The electrical current from the lightning strike will travel through wires and cords using the path of least resistance,” it said.

“Electrical current will follow metal pipes and wires until it reaches the ground (or you, if you are connected through them),” it stated.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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