Information about lightning:
What is Lightning?
The discharge may take place between two parts of the same cloud, between two clouds, or between a cloud and the ground. Lightning may appear as a jagged streak, a flash in the sky, or in the rarer form of a brilliant ball. Thunder is the sound waves produced by the explosive heating of the air in the lightning channel during the return.
- Most lightning strikes occur either at the beginning or end of a storm.
- The average lightning strike is six miles long.
- Lightning reaches 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, fours times as hot as the sun's surface.
- A cloud-to-ground lightning channel can be 2 to 10 miles long.
- Voltage in a cloud-to-ground strike is 100 million to 1 billion volts.
- Lightning is underrated as a risk because it usually claims only one or two victims at a time and does not cause mass destruction of property.
- Lightning affects all regions.
- Lightning kills more people on an annual basis than tornadoes, hurricanes or winter storms. It is second only to flash floods in the annual number of deaths caused by storm-related hazards.
- Damage costs from lightning are estimated at $4-5 billion each year in the U.S. alone.
- Around the earth there are 100 lightning strikes per second, or 8,640,00 times a day.
- What is commonly referred to as heat lightning, is actually lightning too far away to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
- There are approximately 100,000 thunderstorms in the U.S. alone each year.
- Americans are twice as likely to die from lightning than from a hurricane, tornado or flood.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates there are 200 deaths and 750 severe injuries from lightning each year in the U.S.
- 20% of all lightning victims die from the strike.
- 70% of survivors will suffer serious long-term effects.
- Annually, there are more than 10,000 forest fires caused by lightning.
- 85% of lightning victims are children and young men aged 10-35 engaged in outdoor recreation and work activities outside.
- 70% of all lightning injuries and fatalities occur in the afternoon.
- Most lightning deaths involve people working outdoors and outdoor recreationists
- Lightning in remote terrain creates dangerous conditions. Hikers, campers, backpackers, skiers, fishermen, and hunters are especially vulnerable when they’re participating in these activities.
- Many survivors of lightning strikes report that immediately before being struck their hair was standing on end and they had a metallic taste in their mouth.
- Long-term injuries from a lightning strike can include memory & attention loss, chronic numbness, muscle spasms & stiffness, depression, hearing loss, and sleep disturbance.