A large jolt of lightning momentarily lit up the the White House during a powerful thunderstorm in Washington on Thursday (August 4)
The deadly strike killed two people and seriously injured two others at Washington’s Lafayette Square, just north of the White House.
Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park, is often crowded with visitors, especially in the summer months.
A Reuters camera mounted on a building across the street captured the moment the lightning struck four people near a tree that stands yards away from the fence that surrounds the presidential residence and offices.
All four victims sustained critical, life-threatening injuries, and were taken to area hospitals, where two later died, authorities said
Scientists say that climate change is increasing the likelihood of lightning strikes across the United States.
The hot, humid conditions in Washington on Thursday were primed for electricity.
Air temperatures topped out at 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) – or 5F (3C) higher than the 30-year normal maximum temperature for Aug. 4, according to the National Weather Service.
More heat can draw more moisture into the atmosphere, while also encouraging rapid updraft – two key factors for charged particles, which lead to lightning.