Lightning Strike

Lightning strike is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between clouds, the air, or the ground. … Lightning causes thunder! Energy from a lightning channel heats the air briefly to around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, much hotter than the surface of the sun. This causes the air to explode outward.

When lightning strikes a tree or other object, much of the energy travels outward from the strike in and along the ground surface. This is known as the ground current. Anyone outside near a lightning strike is potentially a victim of ground current. Although it’s rare, with the odds of getting struck in your lifetime being roughly 1 in 12,000, every now and then a human will provide an attractive target for lightning bolts to unleash their power. And of the roughly 500 people who are struck by lightning each year, about 90% survive. Use the 30/30 rule! Go indoors if you see lightning and can’t count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa has the highest frequency of lightning on Earth. Year-round thunderstorms there are caused by local convection and moisture-laden air masses from the Atlantic Ocean encountering mountains as they move across the continent. Direct lightning strikes are more dangerous, but both can be incredibly damaging. Both types of strikes have enough power to kill. In 2016, an indirect lightning strike that hit the ground in Norway killed over 300 reindeer.

A leader of a bolt of lightning can travel at speeds pf 60,000 meters per second (13,670 miles per hour), and can reach a temperature approaching 30,000 degrees Celsius (54,000 degrees Fahrenheit), hot enough to convert silica into glass. Which is hotter lightning or lava? Lightning because lightning is 70,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Lava is just 2,240 degrees Fahrenheit. So lightning is hotter than lava.

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