Meet Jackie Watkins, a woman who barely missed being struck by lightning
WINDSOR — Jackie Watkins admits that she is lucky to still be alive after severe thunderstorms rolled through Aiken County on Tuesday.
She was doing what any other woman in the South would do, sit and stand on the porch, when the severe storm rolled through.
“The sky was slowly clearing up by my house, and I figured, OK, it’s passing, it’s gone,” she said.
So, she decided to continue working on her garden when a cloud-to-ground lightning strike struck about 12 feet behind her.
“All of a sudden, the next thing I knew a big flash of lightning was right behind me, and I turned around, and I looked and the lightning struck the tree right there at my front porch,” she said.
Her tree was taken out of commission by the lightning strike.
“I was so close to it. It was like I felt the heat off of it, so I took off running. It scared me to death,” she said.
What’s more? The sky was mostly clear when the lightning struck near Mrs. Watkins, something that is extremely rare anywhere, let alone in South Carolina.
An 11-year-old Fort Myers, Fla. boy died last year after he was struck by lightning on the football field during practice when the sky was also mostly clear.
Most times, lightning can strike up to 18 miles from any direction of the parent storm.
“You should stay inside until 30 minutes goes by and you haven’t heard any additional thunder,” said Columbia County, Ga. EMA Director Pamela Tucker.
Mrs. Watkins said that she will take that to heart.
“From now on, I’ll stay in my house away from the windows and away from the weather,” said Mrs. Watkins.
Mrs. Tucker says, “It’s just not worth it. When storms come, just take shelter. What you’re doing is not that important compared to saving your life.”