This week we acknowledge the 4th year of Lightning Safety Awareness Week which is a perfect continuation on Gothamist Carrie's discussion of deadly lightning. NOAA has an entire website dedicated to lightning safety and are focusing on a specific lightning-related topic each day this week complete with videos.
Some facts that Gothamist thinks are interesting from todays topic, "The Science of Lightning: Why do some clouds produce lightning and others don't?:
- Ice in a cloud seems to be a key element in the development of lightning. Storms that fail to produce quantities of ice may also fail to produce lightning.
- Lightning has been seen in volcanic eruptions, extremely intense forest fires, surface nuclear detonations, heavy snowstorms, and in large hurricanes.
- The lightning channel heats rapidly to 50,000 degrees. (ouch)
In addition, while most lightning originates in the negatively charged lower part of a storm cloud, there is also positive lightning which forms at the top of a storm. It can be quite dangerous because it frequently strikes away from the center of the rain storm up to 5-10 miles away in areas where people might think they are safe from the storm.
Want to know what it's like to get struck b lightning and be lucky enough to survive? Read firsthand stories of lightning survivors, how they were struck and how they were affected (some of these are really chilling stories). The NYC OEM has a good informational page about severe thunder and lightning storms.