Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health News Florida

Lightning Strike Kills Woman on Belleair Beach

Pinellas Sheriff's officials say a Brandon mother was killed by an apparent lightning strike on Belleair Beach Tuesday. Phyllis Kalinowski is the fifth person killed by a lightning strike across the country this year, and the first in Florida.

According to the National Weather Service, there have been just four other deaths caused by lightning strikes so far this year across the country — none in Florida, until Tuesday.

"This is a reminder as we go into the summer storm season it's important to pay very close attention to the weather, as it can change very quickly," Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker told the Tampa Bay Times. According to the Times' article:

Deputies are still investigating exactly what happened next, but this much is known: Kalinowski, 51, spent the day on the sand with friend Dawn Ryskoski. At some point, Ryskoski left, then returned about 6 p.m. She found Kalinowski unresponsive on the beach in the 2500 block of Gulf Boulevard, said Sgt. David DiSano, a Pinellas County sheriff's spokesman. A violent storm had rolled through, DiSano said. It appeared Kalinowski had been hit by lightning. "It was a pretty significant storm," DiSano said. "There were a lot of lightning strikes."

Kalinowski leaves a husband of 26 years, Paul Kalinowski, and two children, Josef and Erin.