A summer storm’s ominous cloud formations mesmerized beachgoers.

By Lynn R. Parks | Photographs by Liz Klingensmith
From the October 2019 issue


It was about 2 o’clock on a hot August afternoon and the Rehoboth Beach Patrol’s Liz Klingensmith had been on her lifeguard stand at the foot of Baltimore Avenue since 10 that morning. Staff members at RBP headquarters were monitoring a thunderstorm that was approaching from the northwest and Klingensmith and her fellow guards were keeping track of that discussion via walkie-talkies.


At the same time, Linda Schmoyer and her husband, Ron, were shopping at Harry K Jewelry on the south end of the boardwalk.

And Paul Arena, an employee of the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, was at his usual station near the north end of the boardwalk.

In the beach patrol headquarters, Capt. Kent Buckson decided that lightning strikes from the storm, although still several miles away, were close enough to the beach that swimmers and waders had to be ordered out of the water. People who were enjoying the ocean that day were a bit reluctant to answer her summons, Klingensmith recalls: “The storm was still pretty far away and things looked fine.”


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