Man hit by lightning while directing traffic

MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) - Joseph Morales knew the storm was getting worse, but last Thursday, he had no idea he would come close to death.

While directing traffic for East Burke High School's graduation ceremonies, a bolt hit near where Morales was standing and hurled his metal umbrella from his hand. "I heard it first, then I really felt it," said Morales.

The man's wife and son were standing nearby and didn't realize he'd been hit until they saw the look on his face, "His mouth was wide open," said Morales's wife Christine.

An ambulance came and transported the man to the hospital but he left with nothing but a bit of numbness in his hand.

"I'm very grateful. I have a boy to raise and I want to be around for my son," Morales said.

Morales says he also has found a new respect for lightning.