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Lightning struck near the White House in Washington, DC, killing two people and injuring others on Thursday evening.
The US website Fox News reported that a Wisconsin couple, aged 75 and 76, died from their injuries after being struck by lightning in Lafayette Square, north of the White House.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life as a result of a lightning strike in Lafayette Square,” said White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre.
“Our thoughts are with the bereaved families and we pray for those still struggling to survive,” she added.
And Fox News reported that two other people were seriously injured and are currently in “critical condition.”
Scientists say climate change is increasing the likelihood of lightning strikes in the United States.
The National Weather Service said hot and humid weather in Washington, D.C. on Thursday led to an increase in electricity consumption. Temperatures topped 34 degrees Celsius, three degrees Celsius higher than the country’s highest normal temperature in 30 years.
Higher temperatures can increase air humidity and increase wind speed, which are key factors in the formation of charged particles leading to lightning.
A landmark 2014 study published in the journal Science suggests that lightning in the United States could increase by 50 percent this century, and every additional degree in temperature would increase the number of lightning strikes by 12 percent.
In Alaska, which is warming rapidly, lightning has increased by 17 percent since the cooler 1980s.
In California, which typically experiences dry weather, about 14,000 lightning strikes in August 2020 sparked some of the largest wildfires in the state on record.
Video.. Lightning kills two people near the White House
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