Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 by Susan Hans
Effects of Lightning on People
Lightning is an electric current and a form of electricity. It begins inside of a thunder cloud as many small bits of ice move around and basically bump into each other. Cold air creates the tiny ice bits and the warm air is in form of water droplets. As they collide or rub into each other it creates an electric charge. You achieve the same effect by rubbing a balloon. It can create static electricity but on a much smaller scale. The charges separate in the cloud, this causes the positive charges to move up, and the negative to move down. Ben Franklin proved that lightening is electricity! CAUTION: don’t fly a kite in a storm!
At any given time there are approximately 2,000 thunderstorms worldwide including Turtle Creek, PA. Each storm can produce 100 lightning strikes a second. That means there are over 8 million lightning bolts every day. Lightning strikes during thunderstorms at one time killed more Americans each year than tornadoes and hurricanes. The months of July and August are known for the highest number of lightning fatalities.
Thousands of people are struck by lightning each year only a fraction of them are fatally injured, but survivors are usually left with debilitating issues for decades. The reason for this is that the charge of a bolt can get as hot as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people survive because lightning rarely passes through the body; it instead is a flashover, meaning that the voltage is passed around the body typically because the body is wet from rain.
Many survivors do not remember being struck, however, they have a burn mark along their body. Many lightning strike survivors report memory issues. However, due to the rarity of incident, less time and resources are devoted to the better understanding of this phenomenon.
If you are seeking coverage during a thunderstorm, vehicles are a great form of coverage. School buses are an excellent shelter for large outdoor events. Places you want to avoid are, isolated trees or tall objects, bodies of water, sheds, fences, convertibles, tractors, and motorcycles. Also, do not wait for the rain to start before you seek shelter.
A good saying to remember is: When thunder roars - GO INDOORS!