100-degree heat returns officer is hit by lightning

August 29, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer Staff Writer Ivan Penn contributed to this article.

For the 12th time during this sweltering summer, temperatures topped the century mark in downtown Baltimore yesterday, hitting a high of 103 and breaking a 17-year-old record.

The record for the day was broken at 1:25 p.m., when the temperature at the Custom House hit 102 degrees. But the heat wasn't done yet, topping off at 103 at 3:55 p.m.

The old record was 101 in 1976.

The heat also was partly to blame for a thunderstorm that moved through Baltimore and Carrol counties, causing numerous lightning strikes. A Baltimore County police officer was injured when she was struck by lightning during the storm.

Ken Shaver, a forecaster with the National Weather Service at BWI, said the storms briefly cooled off the area.

"Lightning was a big story," he said. "It was very frequent -- more than usual." Mr. Shaver said the weather service's lightning detection equipment measured 200 strikes in one 15-minute period during the two-hour storm.

About 7:03 p.m. in Cockeysville, Officer Jodie Banthem had just finished filling the gas tank in her police car and was leaving the Baltimore County Police Department's 7th District highway shop Gray Stone Road.

As Officer Banthem, who turns 31 today, closed the gate around the highway shop, lightning struck the 8-foot-high, chain-link fence the gate was attached to and caused burns to her right forearm, said Officer Russell Keeney.

After the incident, Officer Banthem was taken to the burn unit at Francis Scott Key Medical Center in Baltimore, where she was to be held overnight for observation, Officer Keeney said.

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