When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

Death from the sky: Fatal Texas lightning strikes leave scorched earth & fear with storms ahead

Death from the sky: Fatal Texas lightning strikes leave scorched earth & fear with storms ahead

lightning, lightning bolt, tree
Two soccer players are dead and another injured after lightning struck during a series of recreational games in Aldine on Sunday. ULocalKoco.com

As thunderstorms continue to pass through the greater Houston area this week, the death of two men on Sunday stand as a great reminder of just how dangerous lightning strikes can be.

Just outside Aldine, more than 200 spectators and players gathered at the La Escondida Soccer Complex for a weekly set of recreational matches organized by the Houston Soccer Association.

When games were suspended as a bout of sudden rain and thunder appeared around noon, three playe rs took shelter beneath a nearby tree. Witnesses reported hearing a what sounded like a bomb as lighting hit.

When games were suspended as a bout of sudden rain and thunder appeared around noon, three players from the men's league took shelter beneath a nearby tree. Moments later, witnesses reported hearing a what sounded like a bomb as lighting struck the tree, according to The Houston Chronicle. A bright blue light ran down the trunk to where the men were sitting. 

Officials with the Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) told CultureMap that one of the men was found dead at the scene. The other two were taken to Ben Taub General Hospital, where one was pronounced dead on arrival and the other remains in stable condition.

The dead men have been identified as Jose Romero and Angel Delgado.

HCSO deputy officer Joe Shriver, who happened to be at the games on Sunday, told the Houston Chronicle he ran to the tree just after the lightning hit and found the three men lying motionless on the ground. "It was nothing like I've ever seen," Shriver said. He reported that officers found a large hole on the heel of the man who died immediately from the strike.

The deaths come only weeks after a CenterPoint contractor was fatally hit during a thunderstorm.

According to the National Weather Service's Lightning Safety site, hundreds of people are permanently injured by the weather phenomena each year. Surviving ictims can suffer from a range of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, sleep disorders, irritability and depression. NWS suggests heading indoors at the first sound of thunder.