75 Shocking Facts About Lightning

Facts About Lightning: Lightning means a flash of light in the sky. At this time we hear loud noises due to the expansion and contraction of the air in that area. The emission of such electrical charges can occur between two clouds or between a cloud and the ground. Lightning produces a DC current.

Due to the large amount of electricity that goes underground during lightning strikes, the effect of lightning destroys the possibility of mining or solidification of many basic materials underground.

75 Shocking Facts About Lightning

Shocking Facts About Lightning

  • Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning.
  • Intracloud (IC) lightning occurs within one cloud.
  • A byproduct of lightning is the sound of thunder.
  • The average thickness of a bolt is around 1-2 inches.
  • A lightning bolt usually originates from a cumulonimbus cloud.
  • Lightning travels at about 220,000,000 mph (321,868,800 km/h).
  • Fulgurite is formed when lightning strikes sand or sandy soil.
  • All that energy travels along a path about as wide as a thumb!
  • Cloud to cloud (CC) lightning occurs between two or more clouds.
  • The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 12,000
  • On average, 240,000 humans are injured by a lightning strike every year.
  • Cloud to ground lightning (CG) occurs between a cloud and the Earth’s surface.
  • In the United States, 1.5 out of 10 people struck by a lightning bolt will die.
  • Lightning is a powerful and sudden burst of electrostatic discharge (electricity).
  • Lightning kills about 2,000 people a year, so stay inside during lightning storms.
  • A lightning rod is used to protect a building or structure from a lightning strike.
  • It’s estimated that there are over three million lightning flashes everyday worldwide.
  • Brain injuries are the more common injury – rather than burns – from lightning strikes.

Interesting Facts About Lightning for Kids

  • The streamer can travel up through a building, a tree, or even a person, which can be fatal.
  • Fulminology is the study of lightning, someone who studies lightning is called a fulminologist.
  • Lightning can occur during a volcanic eruption, creating what is called a ‘Dirty Thunderstorm’.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment used lightning to prove electricity was a natural phenomenon.
  • The most thundery place on Earth is believed to be Tororo, Uganda, where it thunders 251 days a year.
  • As evidenced by Marshburn’s experience, you don't have to be outside to be harmed by nearby lightning.
  • Thundersnow is an unusual kind of thunderstorm where snow falls as the primary precipitation instead of rain.
  • In ancient times, philosophers such as Aristotle believed that thunder was caused by the collision of clouds.
  • It’s estimated there are 2,000 to 6,000 human fatalities that occur each year as a result of a lightning strike.
  • In the United States, if you live to be 80 years old, you have a 1 in 15,300 chance that you’ll be struck by lightning.
  • Astraphobia (the fear of thunder and lightning or being struck by lightning) is the third most common phobia in America
  • How hot is a lightning bolt? Only about 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit — roughly five times hotter than the surface of the sun!
  • Lightning can heat the immediate air around it up to 50,000 °F (27,760 °C). That’s five times hotter than the surface of the Sun.
  • In 1977, a huge thunderstorm over New York City led to a major blackout, allowing residents of the city to see the Milky Way Galaxy.

Awesome Facts About Lightning

  • In temperature terms, lightning bolts are around 29,982°C (54,000°F), which is roughly five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • An average lightning bolt can release enough energy (around 250 kilowatt-hours) to operate a 100-watt light bulb for more than three months straight
  • A thunderstorm named ‘Hector the Convector’ forms over Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia, from approximately September to March every year.
  • Lightning kills around 2,000 people each year, so it’s always advisable to stay inside during storms, hence the phrase 'when thunder roars, go indoors'.
  • Lightning strikes can create enduring lifelong discomfort because they cause nerve damage that makes the nerves misfire, which the brain reads as pain.
  • An average lightning bolt can release enough energy to operate a 100-watt light bulb for more than three months straight (about 250 kilowatt-hours of energy).
  • To measure the distance of lightning, count the seconds between flash and thunder and divide by five; the number is how many miles the lightning is from you.
  • In 1955, a thunderstorm in Belgium set off 40,000 pounds of buried explosives left over from the WW1 battle of Messines, with the only casualty being a single cow.
  • Lightning flashes more than 3 million times a day worldwide (about 40 times a second). Not all those flashes hit the ground, as some happen between or inside clouds.
  • Lightning flashes more than 3 million times a day worldwide — that’s about 40 times a second. Not all those flashes hit the ground — some happen between or inside clouds.
  • The air between the clouds and Earth blocks the connection — until the charge gets so strong that an electrical impulse called a “stepped leader” shoots down from the cloud.

Amazing Lightning Facts and Myths

  • During the same period, the majority of victims were male between the ages of 10 to 60; almost two thirds of them were engaged in outdoor leisure activities before being struck.
  • The leader drops in steps of about 150 feet each at about 136,000 mph, until it almost reaches the ground. That’s when an electrical charge called a streamer rises up to meet it and complete the circuit.
  • Lightning strikes more than 100 times per hour over an intersection of the Catatumbo River and Lake Maracaibo in northwestern Venezuela for more than 300 nights a year, often flashing several times a second.
  • Lightning-strike victims are temporarily covered in what’s known as Lichtenberg figures, which are red branching, tree-like patterns created by the passage of high voltage electrical discharges along the skin.
  • Lightning starts in cumulonimbus clouds — aka thunderheads — which have a positive charge up top and a negative charge below. We don’t know how the charges start, but water droplets and ice crystals carry them.
  • While people think golfers are at highest risk of dying, between 2006 and 2019, the risk was four times greater while fishing than while golfing. Camping and boating each accounted for two times as many deaths as golf.
  • That negative charge in the cloud creates a positive charge on Earth below, and the two charges start trying to connect and create a circuit. Ever seen electrical sparks jump across a space? It’s like that, but way bigger.
  • The United States is struck by lightning about 25 million times a year. While the majority of these strikes occur in the summer, people across the country – as well as around the world – can be struck at any time of the year.
  • Then a bolt of electricity streaks back up along the leader’s path at about 62 million mph and creates lightning. More bolts can rise up the same path again right after. Because it all happens so fast, all we see is one bolt of lightning.
  • Because ground current strikes affect a much larger area than the other causes of lightning casualties – the current travels over the surface of the ground – this type causes the most lightning deaths and injuries.3 It's especially bad for livestock.
  • During thunderstorms, lightning can strike up to 10 miles away. That distance is when you can just begin to hear thunder, which is why safety experts urge us to go inside as soon as we hear a distant rumble. Many victims have been either heading to safety at the time of the fatal strike or were just steps away from safety.
  • That a bolt of lightning can find and strike a person directly seems so random, but in fact, people can still be hurt or killed by lightning without being struck directly. People can fall victim to an indirect lightning strike when a current jumps to them from a nearby object, as well as through conduction and ground current.
  • The number of annual strikes is much less than in the 1940s when 300 to 400 people died annually. John Jensenius from the National Weather Service explains, "Most homes had corded phones. So a corded phone, when people held it right up to their head, was a direct connection with wires outside." Also, more farmers sitting on open tractors added to the numbers.

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