Archive for Thursday, August 22, 2002

Storms, heat and humidity hammer Lawrence area

August 22, 2002

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Thursday has been a day of sudden storms and lightning  but that's not all.

"It's hot out there and pretty humid," said Ross Janssen, 6News meteorologist.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Thursday's temperature had climbed to 96, with a heat index of 109, Janssen said

Before the thermostat was turned up, Lawrence was pelted by thunderstorms that produced a lightning strike that injured a Kansas University student.

The student was injured when lightning hit a tree she was walking near on the KU campus. (See story.)

"Lightning, when it strikes a tree like that, the channel of energy comes down and branches out into the ground around. The electricity will flow through the tree's roots," Janssen said.

"She was probably close enough to the tree that it got her. That's why, even if you're underneath the tree, the electricity travels and can get you."

Lightning is the No. 2 weather-related cause of death, behind flooding, he said.

He said the isolated thunderstorms that popped up during the day in northeast Kansas produced .22 of an inch of rain at the Lawrence Municipal Airport.

There was .40 of an inch recorded at the 6News studio in downtown Lawrence and a report from southeast Lawrence showed .15 of an inch, he said.

Janssen said there was a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms through the evening and a 50 percent chance after midnight.

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