31 Mind Blowing Facts About Lightning

Lightning is an electric current. Many tiny bits of ice (frozen raindrops) bump into each other inside a thundercloud far up in the sky as they pass around in the air. An electric charge is generated by all of those collisions. The whole cloud fills up with electrical charges after a while.

  1. On average, lightning strikes the earth an estimated 100 times a second, or 8.6 million times a day. It is estimated that out of perhaps 100,000 thunderstorms, the United States alone experiences as many as 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes a year.
  2. There are three primary types of lighting which include: cloud-to-ground (the most commonly known type), cloud-to-air, and cloud-to-cloud. For cloud-to-ground lightning, lightning’s sudden discharge is a negative charge channel that is drawn to the positively charged ground.
  3. A lightning bolt travels at about 14,000mph and brings 300,000 volts of electricity to the ground. A single bolt of lightning can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.
  4. People who have been struck by lightning often develop musical abilities they did not previously have!
  5. When lightning strikes a beach, it melts the sand, which hardens again as a type of Glass called fulgurite. It often forms in twisty tube shapes.
  6. A bolt of lightning is four times hotter than the sun and is about 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A lightning flash is usually no more than an inch wide.
  7. Lightning moves about 30,000 times faster than a bullet fired from a gun.
  8. 1 in 1,000 lightning bolts is invisible to the human eye.
  9. Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. One in 500,000 is struck by lightning in any given year.
  10. Men are six times more likely to be struck by lightning than women.
  11. Can the lightning strike the same spot twice? Yes! The old adage about lightning never striking the same spot twice is absolutely false. Lightning is not limited to a single action of one bolt. Many strikes of lightning are of multiple types and can occur in a few seconds repeatedly. Up to 22 consecutive lightning strokes in a single flash have been observed. The top of the Empire State Building in New York City is often hit several times during a severe thunderstorm.
  12. The Empire State Building in New York is sometimes struck by lightning hundreds of times each because it doesn’t have a lightning conductor.
  13. Contrary to popular belief, lightning travels from the ground upwards, not from the sky downwards.
  14. The lightning strike from both sky down and ground up. Cloud-to-ground lightning comes from the sky down, but the part you see comes from the ground up. A typical cloud-to-ground flash lowers a path of negative electricity (that we cannot see) towards the ground in a series of spurts.
  15. There is a phenomenon known as dry lightning. Dry lightning is lightning that occurs without rain nearby. This type of lighting is very much responsible for forest fires.
  16. A typical flash of folk lightning lasts for about 0.2 seconds.
  17. The average Lightning Stroke is 6 miles long.
  18. Ball Lightning is a very rare phenomenon that involves ball-shaped lightning that moves much slower than normal lightning. It has been reported to be as large as eight feet in diameter and can cause great damage. There are reports of ball lightning destroying whole buildings.
  19. There is a rare phenomenon known as ball lightning. It involves ball-shaped lightning that moves much slower than normal lightning. The reports say it might be as large as eight feet to few meters in diameter and can cause great damage.
  20. Sullivan was a park ranger in Shenandoah National Park, United States. He was struck by lightning seven times between 1942 and his death in 1983. Sullivan’s leg was shot through by the first lightning bolt and took off his big toenail. A second attack in 1969 burned his eyebrows, knocking him unconscious. Only a year later, another blow left his shoulder sewn. Then his hair was set on fire when another lightning striked him in 1972. Another bolt ripped through his hat in 1973, striking him on the head, setting his hair on fire again, tossing him out of his truck, and knocking off his left foot. In 1976, a sixth strike left him with an injured ankle. The last lightning bolt to strike Sullivan sent him to the hospital with burns on his chest and stomach.
  21. One lightning bolt has enough electricity to serve 200 000 homes.
  22. Nine out of ten lightning bolts strike land rather than oceans.
  23. The chances of being hit by lightning are 1:28,500.
  24. About 77 million lightning bolts annually strike the United States.
  25. 9 out of 10 lightning strike victims survive!
  26. A single bolt of lightning is equivalent to the electric power of 100 million light bulbs in your face.
  27. Lightning sets about ten thousand forest fires every year in the United States.
  28. Florida has the highest instance of lightning fatalities; however, over 8,300 people have been killed by lightning from 1940 to 1991 in the United States.
  29. Oak trees are struck by lightning more than any other tree.
  30. When a tree is struck by lightning, the water inside the tree boils, and the tree explodes because of the high temperature of the lightning bolt.
  31. On October 31, 2018, a spidery web of lightning unfurled over Brazil, stretching 440 miles across the sky—a length roughly equivalent to the distance between Boston and Washington, D.C. The colossal flash set the record for the longest-in-distance lightning strike recorded to date.

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