2 women hospitalized after lightning strike during Quebec thunderstorm

Lightning strikes in the sky during a severe thunderstorm warning. City Press-Citizen via AP/The Canadian Press

Two women in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region were taken to hospital on Thursday after at least one of them was struck by lightning.

It happened in the town of Chambord, Qc., located roughly 240 kilometres north of Quebec City.

Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Nancy Fournier said officers were called to assist paramedics just before 6 p.m. at the dock in Chambord, after a lightning strike injured two women.

Fournier said a woman in her 30s suffered serious injuries. She was rushed to hospital in Chicoutimi before being transferred to a facility in Quebec City. As of Friday morning, her condition remained critical.

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The other woman was also taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

While it was initially believed both women were struck by lightning, Fournier said it is likely that only the woman who suffered critical injuries was hit. She said that the second victim was possibly injured due to her proximity to the other woman.

Much of southern Quebec was under a severe thunderstorm watch on Thursday, with warnings issued in several regions, including Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault said lightning strikes were recorded for the area, but lightning activity was not “something extraordinary.”

While the month of June, was quiet in terms of lightning hits in Quebec, July had the seventh-highest number in the last 20 years, according to Legault.

The weather agency always warns that if thunder roars, people should head  indoors.

The number of people injured by lightning every year in Canada is around 180 with two to three fatalities, Legault said.

In 2010, the number of deaths was closer to nine or 10.

Legault credits the drop to a growing awareness about the risks associated with thunderstorms.

While severe thunderstorms could be brewing into next week in Quebec, Legault said the rest of August should be quieter.


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