An interesting article from ListVerse lists 10 ‘bizarre’ lightning phenomena as impressive as the lightning itself. To read the full list, click here.
· Restoring sight to the blind – a truck driver was blinded in a traffic accident. Nine years later his sight was miraculously restored when he was struck by lightning after taking shelter under a tree. Later that evening his vision began to clear, eventually restoring his ability to read.
Lightning Cures Cancer
· Curing Cancer – in 1932 a man suffering from a diagnosis of terminal cancer and near the end of his life way laying in a hammock outside which was threaded with metal wires. Lightning struck the trees around his hammock and an electrical blast surged through the man, blowing off the bottom of his shoes. Inexplicably, the lightning cured his cancer.
· Creating temporary tattoos: ‘lightning flower’ or ‘lightning tree’ is a reddish feathery or fern-like fractal pattern sometimes seen on the neck or torso of lightning victims. The marks are temporary and usually appear within an hour or two of being struck. The marks are formed due to capillary damage and vary from person to person.
· “Weird, strange, and unbelievable” sounds known as whistlers were first detected by a listening station aboard the US Navy icebreaker Atka in the ’50s. They had a musical quality, described as a high- to low-pitched tone resembling a partial wolf whistle, and they originate when lightning discharges emit electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere. The waves travel along lines of force in Earth’s magnetic field, circle the planet in seconds, and return to the point of origin (hence the descending pitch). These sounds can be picked up with a special receiver and a long antenna.
Read a related article from NBC News about what a lightning strike might do to your skin. Click here.
The 30/30 Rule
Many of us have heard that if you determine the distance lightning is from you by counting the number of seconds between hearing thunder and seeing a lightning strike, that is how far away in miles the lightning is (not true). This notion is actually called “flash-to-bang” method because of the time between seeing and hearing lightning. Flash-to-bang is real, but not in the way we have traditionally believed.
Statistics show that the majority of people who are struck by lightning are struck before or after a thunderstorm, not during it. Given that lightning injuries often last a lifetime, it is wise to know with scientific accuracy just how far away lightning really is from where you are when a thunderstorm is clearly present.
Lightning comes first and subsequently, thunder. Seeing and hearing lightning and thunder can be used to protect yourself and others if you understand the 30/30 Rule. The first 30 is 30 seconds. If it takes less than 30 seconds to hear thunder after seeing a lightning flash, the probability of being struck by lighting is great because the lightning is within 6 miles of your location. At this time one should seek proper shelter from the storm and remain in that shelter for 30 minutes (the second 30) after hearing the last thunder.
The following table is the correct Flash-to-Bang estimations calculated based on the speed of sound at sea level:
|If thunder is heard||The lightning is . . .|
|5 seconds after a flash||1 mile away|
|10 seconds after a flash||2 miles away|
|15 seconds after a flash||3 miles away|
|20 seconds after a flash||4 miles away|
|25 seconds after a flash||5 miles away|
|30 seconds after a flash||6 miles away|
NOAA and the National Weather Service recommend seeking immediate shelter when lightning is 6 miles or less of your location. To download a free copy of our wallet-sized lightning safety card click HERE.
While we all know the saying “lightning never strikes in the same place twice,” according to NOAA, lightning does, however, strike in the United States about 25 million times a year. And while lightning occurs most often during the summer months, you can still be struck at any time of year.
Lightning strikes are responsible for killing an average of 49 people in the United States each year as well as severely injuring hundreds more. 2016 alone has witnessed 38 deaths in the U.S. thus far.
When thunderstorms are in the area, there is no safe place outside. If you can hear thunder or see lightning, you are within striking distance and at risk. According to National Geographic, lightning “frequently strikes away from the rain core, either ahead or behind the thunderstorm” and “can strike as far as five or 10 miles from the storm.” Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to mitigate the danger that being outside during a thunderstorm poses. The only way to remain completely safe is to go inside — either a safe building or vehicle.
Entirely too often people wait far longer than they should to get to a safe place inside and these sluggish reactions lead to many of the lightning deaths and injuries in the U.S. Due to how often lightning strikes in the U.S., it is unreasonable to expect the National Weather Service will offer a warning with every flash — so they don’t.
If the National Weather Service won’t supply warnings, how can you expect to remain safe while enjoying the great outdoors? Until recently there wasn’t a device on the market that detected both weather and lightning in one, but that has changed with the INO Weather Pro.
INO Weather Pro is the only device that combines traditional weather measurements with lightning detection to help you make important decisions that can keep you safe outside. With the innovative INO Weather Pro, you’re able to get accurate weather information delivered to the palm of your hand, in real time, right where you are.
The lightweight, rugged device features a number of attributes aimed at keeping you informed about what is going on outside and can help you monitor the weather no matter where adventure takes you. The INO Weather Pro’s sensors are able to measure temperature, humidity, barometric pressure as well as providing visual and auditory feedback of lightning strike distances up to 40 miles. In addition, from the other readings, the device is able to measure altitude, heat index and dew point.
The myriad capabilities that the INO Weather Pro offers are beneficial to anyone that spends time outdoors hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting or camping. The convenient, water-resistant device is easy to use and will allow you to have more fun (safely!) outside. With the ability to monitor for approaching inclement weather, outdoor enthusiasts are able to make educated decisions about how long to stay outside, whether to seek shelter, what meteorologic changes may be on the horizon and much more.
Source: National Lightning Safety Institute
Though no place is absolutely safe from lightning, some places are safer than others. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.
If caught outside:
· Seek shelter in a large enclosed building (not a picnic shelter or shed)
· Another safe location is an enclosed metal vehicle, car, truck, or van (but not a convertible, bike, or other topless or soft top vehicle). Remain in the vehicle for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last sound of thunder
· Don’t touch the metal of the vehicle if struck
· Do NOT seek shelter under partially enclosed buildings
· Stay away from tall isolated objects (like trees)
· Stay away from all water sources (pools, hot tubs, water/feeding troughs)
· Stay off porches
· Do not go into dog houses (or let your pets go in their dog house)
· Pets chained to trees or any sort of metal can easily fall victim to a lightning strike
· Lightning is likely to strike the tallest objects in a given area – you should not be the tallest object
· If you are on an open field and there are no structures or vehicles nearby, lay down as flat as you can in the lowest spot you can find (a ravine or earth indentation for example)
· Avoid isolated tall trees, hilltops, utility poles, cell phone towers, cranes, large equipment, ladders, scaffolding, or rooftops
· Retreat to dense areas of smaller trees that are surrounded by taller trees, or retreat to low-lying areas (valleys, ditches) but watch for flooding
If you are indoors:
· Inside of buildings, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity
· Stay away from plumbing (it probably is holding water which conducts)
· Stay away from windows and doors. Metal windows and door frames are lightning conductors and pose a threat
“During our trip into the Superstitions the INO Weather Pro worked flawlessly. With no cellular service or network connectivity to rely on, the INO Weather Pro provided accurate real-time weather temperature and changes to the conditions.”
Read more of Digital Trends review on the INO Weather Pro!
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In 1777, German physicist Georg Lichtenberg made a curious discovery: when dust in the air settled on electrically charged plates, beautiful tree-like figures formed. The so-called Lichtenberg ‘dust figures’ are branching patterns that are created when high voltage discharge passes either along a surface or through insulating materials.
Interestingly, these branching patterns are also seen on the skin of people who have been struck by lightning. The awesome video above shows what the branching pattern looks like when scientists trap lightning in a box, where you can see the fractal pattern that lightning makes.
Wikipedia has extensive information on the history and science of these fascinating fractal figures here.
We analyze many different statistics to help us run our businesses more efficiently and effectively. But how often do we measure the weather and determine its impact on our businesses? For those whose primary business is outdoors, using an effective weather monitor can save a lot of money. Knowing whether the temperature is in the optimal range to pour concrete, or cure an adhesive can mean the difference between a job done right and on time or not. Knowing the heat index can help keep your crew safe in the summer. And lightning is often a difficult condition to monitor but is very important for worker safety and protecting equipment from damage. These factors and more will impact the productivity of your crew and can have both schedule and financial implications. See what the INO Weather Pro™ can do for your business.
The majority of lightning strike victims are male. Experts attribute this to the large number of male golfers, football and soccer players, fishermen, roofers, and tall-building construction workers.
The most deaths from lightning occur on Sundays (the most popular day to be out partaking in sporting activities).
Most of us think Oklahoma or Texas is the ‘deadliest’ when it comes to lightning casualties, but in fact it is Florida. Twice as many lightning strikes occur in the Sunshine State than any other state. The other states in the top 5 are Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas based on the number of strikes per square mile according to this Weather Channel article.
More people are killed every year in the United States by lightning than by tornadoes or hurricanes.
INO Technologies reminds you to always play it safe when it comes to storms. If your local weather meteorologist predicts thunderstorms or severe weather, plan accordingly, and bring your portable INO Weather ProÔ weather monitor with lightning detection with you so you can detect how far away the lightning is.