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Lightning Guide

Updated: 07/07/2011 @ 10:16am

Lightning typically occurs when negatively charged electrons from a cloud descend as a “leader” meeting up with a “streamer” of positively charged electrons coming up from the earth through a high point like a tree. When contact is made, it creates a force that is five times hotter than the sun while traveling at one-third the speed of light. Thunder is created from the heat expended by the lightning stroke in a cloud.

Now we all know to avoid trees when outdoors during a lightning storm. But did you realize that lightning can kill you at home? Indeed, a strike on your home can send lethal jolts of electricity through telephone and electrical lines as the lightning tries to find a ground in the earth. So avoid using the bathtub, shower, sinks and telephone when a lightning storm is in progress.

You can estimate your distance from a lightning flash using your watch. To do this, watch for the flash and then determine how much time elapses, in seconds, before your hear the resulting thunder. Here is the guide:
  • 5 seconds equals 1 mile
  • 10 seconds equals 2 miles
  • 15 seconds equals 3 miles
  • 20 seconds equals 4 miles
  • 25 seconds equals 5 miles
  • 30 seconds equals 6 miles

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