Chicago Thunderstorms Leave Behind Downed Trees, Power Outages — and Teen Struck By Lightning

The chances of getting struck by lightening are extremely rare

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Strong thunderstorms quickly barreled through the Chicago area Wednesday, leaving behind a trail of damage ranging from downed trees to power outages -- and a very rare lightening strike that has left a teen girl in critical condition.

At approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday, authorities responded to reports of a 13-year-old girl being struck by lightening in the 300 block of North Central Park Avenue, just outside the Garfield Park Conservatory on the city's West Side, the Chicago Fire Department said.

According to the Chicago Park District, the teen was visiting an outdoor garden space with her family when she was struck. Officials say that employees at the Conservatory used a defibrillator onsite, which detected a pulse. The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital shortly afterwards, where she was last listed in critical condition.

While the National Weather Service recorded nearly 5,000 lightning strikes across the Chicago area during Wednesday’s severe weather outbreak, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that getting struck by lightening is incredibly rare, estimating that chances are around 1 in 1 million.

According to the NBC 5 Storm Team, thunderstorms do have a limited chance of returning Thursday, but are expected to be milder than what the area saw on Wednesday. Scattered storms are predicted this afternoon, mainly for areas south of Interstate 80, with some having the capability to produce gusty winds and brief torrential rainfall.

Although the potential for storms may not be as strong, there is currently a 'Red Flag' warning in effect for Chicago beaches, as dangerous swim conditions and "life threatening" rip currents could develop along Lake Michigan, the National Weather Service says.

Waves could reach heights of up to six feet, creating hazardous swimming and boating conditions, according to officials.

Temperatures Thursday are expected to be cooler, with a high of 80.

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