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Winter phenomenon strikes in Jersey, and it's never happened in MN

Yes, it's possible to get hit by lightning during a snowstorm.

We've heard of thundersnow, but never had we heard of someone actually getting hit by lightning during a snowstorm. 

But that unlikely phenomenon happened on Wednesday in New Jersey, when a middle school teacher was struck by lightning

Don't worry though, it's never happened to anyone in Minnesota. 

"We are unaware of anyone in Minnesota ever being struck by lightning during a snowstorm," Meteorologist Alexandra Keclik told GoMN in an email. 

Keclik then reached out to the Minnesota State Climatology Office and they hadn't heard of anyone getting hit by lightning during a snow event either. 

"We have not heard of it, but of course it is possible," said Kenneth Blumenfeld, a Senior Climatologist with the DNR. "Although everyone here always talks about the Halloween Blizzard of 1991, a different foot-plus storm on Black Friday that year was more impressive in many ways, including its electrification."

"Some observers noted up to 10 separate instances of lightning, including isolated CG (cloud-to-ground lightning) reports. The Jan. 22, 1982 monster also would have been a solid candidate for CG and potential impacts."

Blumenfeld added that lightning striking people in the winter is rare for three reasons. 

  1. Winter storms with that much energy are rare. 
  2. Even during thundersnow, cloud-to-ground strikes are uncommon. 
  3. Fewer people are outside during thundersnow. 

The teacher hit by lightning in New Jersey experienced tingling but didn't suffer any life-threatening injuries. 

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