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Fury of Lightning and Thunderstorms
It is monsoon again; I remember an experience that I came across couple of years back. I was attending the cremation of a lady who died of lightning strike. We were about fifty to sixty people gathered to pay our last respect to the lady. Some of us holding umbrellas and some were standing under the coconut trees to take shelter from the drizzle.
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When cremation of the lady was almost half the way through, there again happened a high jolt of lightning in the sky followed by a big bang of thunder. Resulting in four men standing under a coconut tree fallen dead instantaneously while few others also fell with severe burns. Entire 30 feet tall coconut tree was turned to black in color and was burning in fury from its root to the leaves. At last, we had to cremate other four also along with at the same site before we left. If lightning is not dangerous what else is more dangerous than this?
Is lightning truly dangerous?
Yes; lightning is extremely dangerous because of the destructive power it carries. They say an average lightning carries so many ten thousands amps of current and many millions volts of electric potential and tens of thousands centigrade or Fahrenheit of heat.
This extremely bright flash of light is an electric discharge like static electricity jumping from a point of high potential to lower causing to spark. It can occur just between the clouds or it takes place from clouds to air and you cannot predict when it will catastrophically come down to earth from the clouds.
Is lightening predictable?
No, lightning is unpredictable. Reason why lightning is dangerous because it is hard to know just when and where it is likely to strike, or how it will behave when it strikes. Natural calamities like hurricane, flood, earthquake or volcano eruptions all causes extensive damages every year, but when it comes to lethal weather, lightening is hard to beat.
The situations become worst because all the lightning is not followed by a thunderstorm so that you can be warned of the sound. True, You cannot have a thunderstorm with out lightning but you can have lightning with out thunderstorms.
Discussions on lightning and thunderstorm
- I heard people say lightning never strikes the same place twice. It is not true lightning strikes same place repeatedly, especially when they are pointy and isolated. A cross placed above the church at height in my knowledge was repeatedly struck by lightning.
- If you are caught in open place rush to a closed building or to your car. It is myth that you are safe in a car because it has rubber tires. In a strong electric field rubber tires become more conductive than isolative. You are safe in the car because you have a metal cage protecting you, heavy flow of current discharges through its metal body to the earth through the tires.
- Do you think lightning victim is electrified, if you touch him electrocuted? Answer is no. human body does not store electricity. It is safe to touch and give first aids like CPR and mouth to mouth breathing.
- It is not safe to be under the tall trees during thunder storm. Tall trees with dry hanging branches and spiky leaves are a potential hazard to lightning strike.
- There is no place safer than being inside the house, but avoid metal doors and metal window frames. Anything that conducts electricity and they are plugged in to wall socket also to avoided. Electrical out lets, lights, desk top computers televisions, stereos are therefore some of the items not safer. It is a good practice to unplug these items during thunder storms.
Is using telephone dangerous during lightening?
Yes, using a wired telephone can be dangerous. Heavy discharges of current can get in to the unit through the cable lines and cause damages to the unit and to the user. I got experiences of damaging my computer motherboard and internet modem because they were plugged in to the electric sockets during thunder storm. Now about cell phones, there are differences on this subject, some says cellphone receiving and transmitting cellular frequencies, since no wired conductors involved in they are safe. But my personal opinion is avoid using them during heavy lightening and thunders.
The images used in this blog are taken from the internet.