Lightning Strike Hurts 6 at Las Cruces Middle School Football Practice in New Mexico

August 20, 2014

A lightning strike at a New Mexico middle school football practice left six people injured Tuesday afternoon, and one boy was hospitalized in critical condition, police say.

The boy, 13-year-old Hunter Keffer, was stabilized and taken to a pediatric burn unit, according to the Albuquerque Journal. 

His mother told the Associated Press his condition had improved, and he was able to breathe on his own.

Authorities said the lightning strike occurred at about 5 p.m. local time Tuesday in an open field at Picacho Middle School. No warnings were issued on the storm by the National Weather Service.

"The thunderstorm near Las Cruces, New Mexico, did develop quickly Tuesday afternoon," said meteorologist Linda Lam. "However, this is not an uncommon occurrence during monsoon season (the summer) in the Southwest."

(MORE: Students Dig Up a Tragic Secret)

Las Cruces Public Schools officials say two other players and a coach were sent to the hospital, but they were conscious and responsive. Two other children were treated at the scene but didn't need to be hospitalized, the Albuquerque Journal added.

So far this year, there have been 20 deaths in the United States due to lightning strikes, according to NOAA data.

Featured Blogs

Costliest (and Deadliest?) Disaster of 2015: Indonesia's $14 Billion Fires

By Dr. Jeff Masters
October 13, 2015

Earth's most expensive weather-related disaster of 2015--and the most expensive disaster in Indonesia's history--is underway in that nation, where massive clouds of smoke from agricultural fires have choked the lungs of tens of millions of people for months. Indonesia's Center for International Forestry Research estimated the smoke will cost $14 billion in agriculture production, forest degradation, health, transportation and tourism.

California Hopes for a Wet Winter

By Christopher C. Burt
October 12, 2015

The hype is on for a big El Nino-fueled rainy season this coming winter and spring in California. The latest data indicates that the developing (already in progress) El Nino event should become just as strong (perhaps even stronger) than the record setters of 1982-1983 and 1997-1998. Here’s a look at how those seasons panned out for the state precipitation-wise and where precipitation totals for this year and season now stand.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.