Lightning Facts and Fiction


Thunderstorm cloud, central Kansas

 

Observing the lightning within a thunderstorm, especially a severe thunderstorm is an awesome site to behold. A few nights ago while staying in central Kansas I had the opportunity to view several simultaneous severe thunderstorms which were producing stunning lightning in a continuous non-stop light show.

I observed the enormous towering cumulus clouds during the late afternoon as they were rapidly building into billowing pillars of bubbling frothing shades of white and gray. As the classic anvils formed on top of the two side-by-side distinct storms, I knew it was going to be a fun show…


 

Sure enough, as the sun began to set, the lightning became visible all around and within the thunderheads. It was a remarkable show of weather and the scientific charging mechanism of colliding ice crystals with pellets of snow and ice within the towering storm cloud until the building energy discharges into violent flashes of electricity, light, and exploding air (thunder).

 
Almost all lightning deaths have occurred OUTDOORS.
-running to shelter
-watching the storm
-walking
-riding on a lawnmower
-playing sports
-swimming
-golfing
-camping
-mountain climbing
-boating
-riding horses
-standing under a tree
-loading a truck
-fishing

 
Weather Alert Radio

 
Lightning Fiction: The rubber tires on a car or the rubber soles of shoes will protect you from being struck by lightning.

Lightning Fact: Rubber-soled shoes or rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. It is the steel frame of a hard topped vehicle that provides increased protection if you are not touching the metal. While you may be injured by lightning if it strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.

 
Lightning Fiction: If it is not raining, there is no danger from lightning.

Lightning Fact: Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall!

 
Lightning Fiction: “Heat lightning” occurs after very hot summer days and poses no threat.

Lightning Fact: “Heat lightning” is a term used to describe lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for the thunder to be heard.

 

Lightning Facts

There is no safe place outdoors when a thunderstorm is nearby.

The vast majority of lightning victims were going to a safe place but waited too long before seeking safe shelter.

The channel of air through which lightning passes can be heated to 50,000 degrees-F, hotter than the surface of the sun!

The rapid heating and cooling of the air near the lightning channel causes a shock wave that results in the sound we know as “thunder”.

Lightning causes an average of 55-60 fatalities and 400 injuries each year.

Lightning occurs with all thunderstorms.

Lightning causes more than $1 billion in insured losses each year.

 

How Far Away is the Lightning?

Count the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the sound of the resulting thunder.

Divide this number by 5 to get an estimate of the distance in miles to the lightning strike.

 
Note: If you’re outdoors and can hear thunder, you’re in danger of being struck by lightning.
Note: Only YOU can make the decision to seek safety.
Note: An important tool to warn of severe weather is a weather alert radio.

Midland WR120 NOAA Weather and All Hazard Public Alert Radio

 
Related article: The Best Weather Alert Radio

 
Some of the facts listed above sourced from NOAA’s “Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning… Preparedness Guide”

44 Comments


Click here to vote for MSB -Top Prepper Website

  1. BAM BAM April 17, 2017
  2. Nailbanger April 17, 2017
    • NRP April 17, 2017
  3. NRP April 17, 2017
    • Skibum April 17, 2017
      • NRP April 17, 2017
    • Nailbanger April 17, 2017
    • Texasprepper April 17, 2017
      • NRP April 17, 2017
        • Les Francis April 17, 2017
    • Ken Jorgustin April 17, 2017
      • kevinH April 18, 2017
        • kevinH April 18, 2017
  4. Skibum April 17, 2017
    • NRP April 17, 2017
      • Skibum April 17, 2017
        • NRP April 17, 2017
  5. Dennis April 17, 2017
  6. aka April 17, 2017
    • NRP April 17, 2017
  7. PNW April 17, 2017
  8. Modern Throwback April 17, 2017
    • NRP April 17, 2017
  9. Modern Throwback April 17, 2017
  10. CaliRefugee April 17, 2017
    • NRP April 17, 2017
  11. ACDH April 17, 2017
    • NRP April 17, 2017
      • 11HE9 April 17, 2017
        • HDbastard April 17, 2017
          • 11HE9 April 18, 2017
        • NRP April 18, 2017
          • ACDH April 18, 2017
          • NRP April 18, 2017
  12. Peanut Gallery April 17, 2017
  13. BigBadCat April 17, 2017
  14. 0ldhomesteader April 18, 2017
    • NRP April 18, 2017
  15. David, retired country boy April 18, 2017
  16. CaliRefugee April 18, 2017
  17. Bill Jenkins Horse April 18, 2017
    • Bill Jenkins Horse April 18, 2017
  18. Dennis April 18, 2017
    • NRP April 18, 2017
Click here to vote for MSB -Top Prepper Website

Visit our TERMS OF USE & Comment Policy

For off-topic discussion, visit the latest:
'Weekly Preparedness' post

For the most recent comments from all articles:
'Recent Comments' page

Leave a Reply

Email optional - will not be published
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!