Deadly Lightning

Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick has all the facts on this beautiful but potentially deadly display!

This weather phenomenon has fascinated man kind well before Ben Franklin discovered that lightning is actually electricity when he flew a kite into a thunderstorm in June 1752.  Since that discovery we now know a whole lot more about lightning but there are still some things we don't know.  That's what Kathy Lang in Portsmouth asks: “what are some facts about lightning?”



-Believe or not as many as 100 lightning bolts strike the earth each second.


-Lightning is five times hotter than the surface of the sun.  With those extreme temperatures cutting through the atmosphere, the air rapidly expands and causes a sound which we call thunder! 


-Usually lightning is no larger than an inch in diameter and can strike as far away as 10 miles from the parent thunderstorm. 


-An average of 87 people are killed each year in the united states but only about 10% of people stuck are killed. 


-Lightning can and sometimes does strike twice. 


-You have a better chance of being hit by lightning than hitting the lottery. 


So, what should you do when lightning approaches? 


First, stay off the corded telephone, away from windows and water.  This includes doing the dishes, taking a bath or showering.  Stay off the golf course, away from trees.  Isolated tall trees pose the highest threat.  One of the safest places to be in the non-severe thunderstorm is in a car.  It's not due to the rubber tires but the way the car is shaped with by the metal.  If lightning strikes your car it's deflected by the shape and metal and then is safely lead to the ground through the tires.  While in your car don't touch anything.


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