Lightning Tragedy in Kenya

  • Nov 06, 2015

An early evening thunderstorm tragically interrupted a funeral procession when a bolt of lightning struck a group of mourners in Mochorwa Village, Kenya on 19 October 2015. Three of those affected by the strike were pronounced dead when they arrived at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital. An additional two other people sustained burns to over 48% of their bodies but survived the deadly strike.

The above animation is composed of lightning strikes detected by our ENcast cloud-based forecasting tool as well as our Total Lightning Network. The time lapse shows the violent thunderstorm moving northwest through Bomachoge Chache Sub-County.

morchawa

Above is the yellow cloud-to-ground strike that we believe to have hit the group of mourners who were outside during the storm. Many people in the group attempted to find shelter when it began to rain but some were not as lucky.

morchawa 2

The patches of purple and specks of yellow represent the large amount of total lightning that pelted the area from the hours of 9am UTC to 6pm UTC. The majority of the lightning strikes in this storm system were in-cloud lightning strikes (purple). In-cloud lightning strikes are often a precursor to dangerous weather events like the fatal strike that ended the lives of three mourners, as well as other severe weather conditions like tornadoes, high winds, and heavy rains.

More severe weather and storms like this one are expected to impact the region in the coming months. The arrival of El Niño rains means above average rainfall amounts starting in November. This rainfall will most likely bring landslides and floods along with dangerous lightning.