Schenectady County

Two hospitalized by lightning strike

While temperatures are expected to be cooler today due to cloud cover, humidity will continue to mak

While temperatures are expected to be cooler today due to cloud cover, humidity will continue to make the air feel uncomfortable and maintain the potential for the type of fast-forming isolated thunderstorms that have injured two people this weekend and left thousands of others dotting the region without electricity.

A 15-year-old girl was in Albany Medical Center Hospital’s intensive care unit Saturday, according to state police, where she was transported after being struck by lightning just before midnight Friday while leaving the Saratoga County Fair. A 34-year-old woman with the teen also was hit and remained at Saratoga Hospital Saturday. Their conditions were unavailable late Saturday.

Laura Madelone, 34, of Latham, and a 15-year-old girl from Sand Lake, who was not identified by state police, were waiting for others at Gate 3 on Prospect Street in Ballston Spa when lightning struck, village police said. The two were standing on a grassy area between a tree and a metal fence, authorities said.

Fair manager Dick Rowland said the fast-moving storm didn’t give fair patrons much of a chance to seek shelter. “It blew up, it hit and it left almost as quickly,” he said.

“The best speculation that we’ve got is that it struck a pine tree that they were standing under,” he said.

More than 4,000 people were left without power through Saturday in sections of Albany and Rensselaer counties, according to the National Grid Web site. Those residents were left without power as temperatures climbed through the 90s. Power was expected to be restored throughout the region today.

Showers and thunderstorms will be more numerous today but less severe than the previous two days, according to Kevin Lipton, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Albany.

Lipton said the temperatures Friday and Saturday were near 90, with the humidity making it feel worse. said the heat and humidity increased the severity of the fast-moving thunderstorms.

“The higher the heat and humidity the more energy there is available for the thunderstorms to work off,” Lipton said.

Lipton said the area has been entrenched in a very warm and humid weather pattern with a frontal system from the northern Great Lakes Region to New England. As the front ripples through the area it increases the possibility for showers and thunderstorms.

Friday’s storms caused downed tree limbs and power lines. The storm knocked down power lines in Slingerlands, causing a small portion of Route 85 to close.

Saturday’s storms appeared to have less of an effect on the Capital Region, although 3,600 people remained without power in Renesselaer County and 1,500 in Albany County.

Gazette reporter Tatiana Zarnowski contributed to this story.

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