News

Sophomore dies in lightning strike accident

University of Miami sophomore Lee Weisbrod died Saturday, July 22, when he was struck by lightning in Montvale, New Jersey. He was 19.

Weisbrod, who lived nearby in River Vale, New Jersey, and three friends were playing soccer at a softball field when it started to rain, according to media reports. The teens were heading toward shelter when the lightning struck Weisbrod and his friend Steven Fagan, 18.

The two boys were transported to a local hospital within an hour and were pronounced dead upon arrival. According to the New York Times, Weisbrod and Fagan died “of severe burns and trauma” caused by the lightning strike. The other two teens were treated for minor injuries, media reports said.

Weisbrod was a student in the School of Business majoring in business management and organization. His father told the media that Weisbrod was interested in working in the music business.

Robyn Fisher, rabbinic director at UM’s Hillel Jewish Student Center, said Hillel is planning a memorial for Weisbrod, who was Jewish, in the next month.

“His death was shocking and just so random,” Fisher said. “A number of his friends need some closure. We want to try to bring some comfort to them, and to honor his life.”

Ricardo Hall, the new dean of students who started his job over the summer, said he has spoken briefly to Weisbrod’s father several times, to serve as a “point person” between the family and the university.

Hall said students should know that lightning is dangerous.

“I don’t know if anything good can come from this tragedy,” Hall said. “But raising awareness is important.”

The university has had a lightning prediction system called ThorGuard since 2004.

If conditions for lightning strikes exist, the alarm will sound for 15 seconds from sirens around campus. The alarm, which can be heard from up to a half a mile away, is meant to warn people outdoors, particularly those using athletic fields and the UC Pool, to find shelter. Once the alarm sounds, a yellow strobe light is activated and remains on until the lightning danger has passed – usually at least 10 minutes after the last lightning has been detected.

The alarm also gives an all-clear signal – three short blasts – once danger has passed. The system is effective from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., to comply with the City of Coral Gables noise ordinance.The same alarm system is used in the Granada and Riviera golf courses in Coral Gables, and in the men’s and women’s professional golfing tours, according to the Office of Media Relations.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which refers to lightning as “the underrated killer,” lightning is the second-most frequent weather-related killer in the United States, after floods and flash floods. Florida ranked number one in lightning deaths from 1995 to 2004, and summer is the peak season for lightning, according to NOAA’s website.

Patricia Mazzei may be contacted at pmazzei@miami.edu.

August 29, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Hurricanes have become part of college football’s national conversation, and the more wins they ...

Kicker Michael Badgley will soon become the University of Miami’s all-time field goal leader. In the ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt called Darrell Langham’s amazing, 28-yard catch on fourth-and-1 ...

Darrell Langham is 6-4, but might as well be 8-4 — that’s how much he has grown in stature for the M ...

The Miami Hurricanes have done it again. For the second week in a row, the Canes rallied to win in t ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Hurricanes legends Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Warren Sapp and Sean Taylor were officially ad ...

University of Miami wide receiver Darrell Langham and kicker Michael Badgley were among those recogn ...

University of Miami redshirt setter Haley Templeton was named ACC Player of the Week, the conference ...

Freshman Bojan Jankulovski highlighted Day 2 competition on Saturday for the University of Miami men ...

The University of Miami's football game at North Carolina on Oct. 28 will kick off at noon ET o ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.