Lightning can travel 10 to 12 miles from a thunderstorm. This is often farther than the sound of thunder travels. That means that if you can hear thunder you are close enough to a storm to be in danger of being struck by lightning. When thunder roars go indoors.
Can lightning travel 50 miles?
A science journal paper released in 2017 describes a lightning strike in Oklahoma on June 20, 2007 that was nearly 200 miles long, the world-record holder at that time. News articles picked up the story, raising alarm that «we’ll have to rethink our lightning safety rules» because the event showed «lightning can strike farther from a storm than previously thought».
These fears are unwarranted, originating from a misunderstanding of the data. «Megaflash» lightning events are not classic «bolts from the blue» (what we call strikes leaping out into clear air away from a storm). Rather, these happen entirely within an expansive thunderstorm formation called a «trailing stratiform» region. Here is the radar image of the storm complex that produced the 2007 event: Fig. 1: Radar image showing the convective squall line and attendant trailing stratiform precipitation region that produced the 2007 megaflash event over Oklahoma on June 20, 2007. Thunderstorm squall lines like this are far from rare — they are commonplace in the central USA, with a couple dozen or more happening each year.
The stratiform region is an area of electrified clouds and light precipitation that extends some distance behind the heavy leading cores of a squall line. They can extend for hundreds of miles, many times spanning across several states.
The attendant stratiform regions of these systems are usually one contiguous mass, extending a hundred miles or more behind the leading line storms. These stratiform shields are highly electrified, fed by the charge-generating updrafts at the leading edge of the complex.
The lightning discharges that result will spread horizontally across the stratiform region, growing in a chain-reaction fashion as they tap into the vast regions of electrical charge. Storm observers call these long, horizontal lightning discharges «anvil crawlers», a colloquialism to describe the way their channels visually propagate across the sky.
These «crawlers» routinely cover vast distances — lightning bolts dozens of miles long are routine events during these types of storms. Fig. 2: An «anvil crawler» lightning discharge within a squall line’s trailing stratiform shield. As these discharges progress, they often send out periodic interconnected vertical channels that strike the ground: Fig. 3: An «anvil crawler» lightning discharge with an interconnected cloud-to-ground component. You’ve likely experienced many of these storm complexes yourself: the storm arrives with torrential downpours and frequent, loud cloud-to-ground lightning and thunder.
- Those are the leading cores of the squall line;
- As the stratiform region arrives and passes overhead, the rain tapers off to a steady light shower, while the lightning becomes less frequent with softer, longer rolls of thunder;
So, to summarize, «megaflash» lightning events are «overachieving» anvil crawler-type discharges in just such an environment, contained within a long squall line’s stratiform precip area. Contrary to what some news articles say, there are no new lightning safety implications from the record event.
- Since the megaflash channels are entirely within a large thunderstorm complex, anyone at risk from getting struck from any part of it would already be inside the storm, experiencing lightning and thunder before and after the event;
The takeaway? The adage «when thunder roars, go indoors» still holds true. If you can hear thunder, you’re within range of the next strike. There is, however, no need to worry about a storm more than 30 miles away sending a lightning bolt out to zap you. However, you should be mindful of new thunderstorms that might develop nearby or overhead, as any storm in your vicinity means the conditions might be ripe for additional storms areawide.
Can lightning travel 20 miles?
This means, if there is a storm in one of those towns, folks in the other need to be aware lightning can strike in their area! Yes, lightning can travel up to 20 miles.
Can lightning strike 100 miles away?
Thunder and Lightning Simulator — Note: The simulator may not display properly on small mobile devices. Watch Out for those Lightning Bolts from the Anvil!
- Lightning can strike more than 100 miles from the parent thunderstorm.
- Thunder is the sound wave produced by the rapid expansion of air caused by the extreme heat of a lightning flash.
- Use the mouse to position the person further (or closer) from the base of the storm.
- Note: The simulator may not display properly on small mobile devices.
Simulator created by Tom Whittaker and Steve Ackerman Return to the top.
What distance is safe from lightning?
While lightning has been recorded to strike at a distance of 10 miles, the rule of thumb used for safety is a six mile distance. Thus, seeking shelter is recommended if the lightning is six miles away or less. There are a number of lightning detectors on the market using various methods to determine lightning distance.
What is the lightning capital of the world?
How do you feel about thunder and lightning? If you are like me, you will open the curtains wide and pull up a chair to watch the show. You may even wonder where to travel to catch the best lightning show in the world. In this article, you’ll learn about the lightning capital of the world.
The most lightning-prone country in the world is the Democratic Republic of Congo. For a specific geographical location, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela is the lightning capital of the world. Maracaibo has lightning storms nearly 300 nights a year.
It also has the most lightning strikes per square mile. .
How loud is lightning right next to you?
Science of Thunder — Lightning has a diameter of 1-2 inches (2-5 cm) and can heat air to 70,000° F (39,000° C) in a few milliseconds. Ninety percent of the electrical energy of lightning is released in the form of heat, which is quickly dissipated into the atmosphere.
Less than 1% of lightning’s energy is converted into sound and the rest released in the form of light. A sudden increase in pressure and temperature causes surrounding air to expand violently at a rate faster than the speed of sound, similar to a sonic boom.
The shock wave extends outward for the first 30 feet (10 m), after which it becomes an ordinary sound wave called thunder. The speed of sound through air at sea level is 758 mph (1,130 feet/second; 344 m/second) at 68° F (20° C). Thunder is exploding air occurring along the entire length of the lightning channel.
An average thunderstorm produces thousands of mi/km of lightning channel during its lifetime. Sound velocity is proportional to the square root of temperature. Temperature typically decreases with height, unless there is an inversion (warm air over cooler air).
Thus, the sound of thunder will be deflected upward. Humidity, wind velocity, wind shear, temperature inversions, terrain features, and clouds, also influence thunder’s audibility. The loudness of thunder can be expressed in decibels (dB). A clap of thunder typically registers at about 120 dB in close proximity to the ground stroke.
This is 10 times louder than a garbage truck or pneumatic jackhammer drill. By comparison, sitting in front of speakers at a rock concert can expose you to a continuous 120+ dB level. Thunder in close proximity is capable of producing temporary deafness and may cause rupturing of the ear’s tympanic membrane that can lead to hearing damage or deafness.
At very close range, thunder is capable of causing property damage. The shock wave, pressure, and propagation of thunder may cause exterior and interior damage to structures. Popping of nail-supported drywall away from horizontal and vertical wooden studs inside houses has been documented.
Glass windows have been broken by the concussion of thunder. Thunder contains a somewhat cylindrical initial pressure shock wave along the lightning channel in excess of 10 times the normal atmospheric pressure.
This shock wave decays rapidly into a sound wave within feet or meters. When thunder is heard from about 328 feet (100 m) distance, it consists of one large bang, yet hissing and clicking may be heard just prior to the bang (upward streamers). When heard at.
6 mile (1 km) from lightning, thunder will rumble with several loud claps. Thunder is seldom heard beyond 10 miles (16 km) under ideal conditions. The sound of distant thunder has a characteristic low-pitched rumbling sound.
Pitch, the degree of highness or lowness of a sound, is due to strong absorption and scattering of high-frequency components of the original sound waves, while the rumbling results from the fact that sound waves are emitted from different locations along the lightning channel, which lie at varying distances from a person.
- The longer the lightning channels, the longer the sound of thunder;
- Humans hear frequencies of thunder between 20-120 Hertz (Hz);
- However, there is a small amount, less than 10%, that is inaudible to humans produced from lightning, called infrasonic;
Special listening devices are required to record these inaudible sounds.
What is the longest lightning bolt ever recorded?
Two massive lightning bolts recently broke shocking new records. A bolt stretching nearly 800 kilometres (500 miles) across three states now holds the record for the longest lightning flash. On 7 February 2022, the World Meteorological Organization announced that a single bolt on 29 April 2020 stretched over 767 kilometres (477 miles) across Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
This incredible length is equivalent to the distance between New York City and Columbus, Ohio. Following April’s record-breaking bolt event, another lightning megaflash ripped through the skies of Uruguay and northern Argentina during a thunderstorm on 18 June 2020.
The flash lasted 17 seconds, breaking the record for the longest lasting lightning flash. WMO has verified 2 new world records for a ⚡️⚡️ #megaflash Greatest duration of 17. 1 seconds over #Uruguay and #Argentina Longest distance of 768 km (477. 2 miles) across southern #USA @NOAA imagery of US megaflash highlights advances in #satellites and detection technology https://t. co/RazD75gqNM Both events were considered cloud-to-cloud lightning flashes, lighting up the sky thousands of feet above the ground. Cloud-to-cloud lightning happens when a negatively charged cloud attracts a positively charged cloud. This type of lightning does not strike the ground, instead travelling from one cloud to another. Prior to the two new records, a megaflash over Brazil held the record for the longest flash by distance, spanning just over 709 kilometres (441 miles).
Can lightning strike a car?
Myth : If you’re caught outside during a thunderstorm, you should crouch down to reduce your risk of being struck. Fact: Crouching doesn’t make you any safer outdoors. Run to a substantial building or hard topped vehicle. If you are too far to run to one of these options, you have no good alternative.
You are NOT safe anywhere outdoors. See our safety page for tips that may slightly reduce your risk. Myth : Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object.
The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year Myth : If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning. Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud.
«Bolts from the blue» can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm. Myth : Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground. Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires.
Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.
- Myth : A lightning victim is electrified;
- If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted;
- Fact: The human body does not store electricity;
- It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid;
- This is the most chilling of lightning Myths;
Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR! Myth : If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry. Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried! Myth : If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows.
Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.
- Myth : If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter;
- Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough;
No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children. Myth : Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones,Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year.
When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter â€» don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc. Myth : If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
- Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current;
- If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter;
- Myth : lightning flashes are 3-4 km apart Fact: Old data said successive flashes were on the order of 3-4 km apart;
New data shows half the flashes are about 9 km apart. The National Severe Storms Laboratory report concludes: «It appears the safety rules need to be modified to increase the distance from a previous flash which can be considered to be relatively safe, to at least 10 to 13 km (6 to 8 miles).
In the past, 3 to 5 km (2-3 miles) was as used in lightning safety education. » Source: Separation Between Successive Lightning Flashes in Different Storms Systems: 1998, Lopez & Holle, from Proceedings 1998 Intl Lightning Detection Conference, Tucson AZ, November 1998.
Myth : A High Percentage of Lightning Flashes Are Forked. Fact: Many cloud-to-ground lightning flashes have forked or multiple attachment points to earth. Tests carried out in the US and Japan verify this finding in at least half of negative flashes and more than 70% of positive flashes.
Many lightning detectors cannot acquire accurate information about these multiple ground lightning attachments. Source: Termination of Multiple Stroke Flashes Observed by Electro- Magnetic Field: 1998, Ishii, et al.
Proceedings 1998 Int’l Lightning Protection Conference, Birmingham UK, Sept. 1998. Myth : Lightning Can Spread out Some 60 Feet After Striking Earth. Fact: Radial horizontal arcing has been measured at least 20 m. from the point where lightning hits ground. Depending on soils characteristics, safe conditions for people and equipment near lightning termination points (ground rods) may need to be re-evaluated.
Has anyone died from showering during thunderstorm?
It’s unclear whether or not anyone has ever died from showering during a thunderstorm. That being said, the above estimate that between 10 and 20 people are shocked while using water or appliances every year indicates that there is some risk.
Can you poop during a thunderstorm?
Lightning can also hit you on the toilet , he says. «There have been documented incidents of people injured on toilets,» Jensenius told McClatchy. «It (lightning) went through the pipes and through the water. If lightning strikes your home, it often finds its way into the plumbing.
Has anyone been struck by lightning in the shower?
Health | The Claim: Never Bathe or Shower in a Thunderstorm https://www. nytimes. com/2006/08/15/health/15real. html Really? THE FACTS It has the ring of an urban legend and seems too bizarre to be true. But the claim that taking a shower during a lightning storm can electrocute you is no old wives’ tale, experts say.
The basis of the claim is that a bolt of lightning that hits a house or building — even one that is protected against severe weather — can travel through plumbing, into metal pipes, and shock anyone who comes into contact with a faucet or appliance.
Metal pipes are not only excellent conductors of electricity, but they also carry tap water laden with impurities that help conduct electrical current. Image Credit. Leif Parsons In the real world, the odds of being harmed this way are extremely minute. But it is not unheard of.
Ron Holle, a former meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who tracks lightning injuries, estimates that 10 to 20 people in the United States are shocked annually while bathing, using faucets or handling appliances during storms.
«There are a ton of myths about lightning,» he said, «but this is not one of them. » In a storm, a protected building acts somewhat like a metal cage. Electricity from a lightning strike is conducted around you and eventually dissipates into the ground. There is no real risk unless you touch something connected to plumbing, electrical wiring or another conducting path.
- Mary Ann Cooper, who runs the Lightning Injury Research Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said people had been shocked and even killed washing dishes, doing laundry and sitting in bathtubs in storms;
A database of these incidents is online at struckbylightning. org. THE BOTTOM LINE Lightning can travel through plumbing and shock people..
Can lightning penetrate a house?
Lightning strikes the earth millions of times per day. A lightning bolt is an electrostatic discharge between a storm cloud and the ground, and it has millions of volts of power. Since lightning strikes are such a common phenomenon, your house may also be struck by lightning at some point. Lightning forms between a storm cloud and the earth.
- Since a lightning bolt’s objective is to reach the ground, it will pass through your home’s structure, electrical wiring, or water pipes;
- A lightning bolt will typically hit the highest point of your home, which is your roof, and split up in several paths to reach the ground;
As one of the top roofing companies in the Lincoln area, we have seen many lightning strikes!.
What is the 30 30 Rule of lightning?
When You See Lightning, Count The Time Until You Hear Thunder. If That Is 30 Seconds Or Less, The Thunderstorm Is Close Enough To Be Dangerous – Seek Shelter (if you can’t see the lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back-up rule). Wait 30 Minutes Or More After The Lightning Flash Before Leaving Shelter.
Can I run in lightning?
Here’s how to tell how far away a lightning strike is
Samuel D. Barricklow / Getty If you’ve ever found yourself running in a lightning storm, you may have wondered what you should do to stay safe. Crouch low in an open field? Duck under a shelter? Or keep running? Know that there’s an average of 54 reported deaths due to lightning each year, and hundreds of people are permanently injured after becoming struck.
Injured folks may suffer long-term symptoms like memory loss, attention deficits, stiff joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and more. Getting struck directly by lightning—or other forms, like the ground current created by a strike—is something to take very seriously.
The old recommendation of crouching down into a «lightning squat»—reducing oneself to the size of a child—has changed after not proving to provide much safety. We asked John Jensenius, Lightning Safety Specialist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , about how a runner can stay safe in a storm, and here’s what he had to say: 1.
- «When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors;
- » NOAA strongly recommends avoidance, because there isn’t much you can do when you’re already out in a storm;
- So, when you’re planning a run, listen to the forecast, look online at the radar and take advantage of times of the day when lightning is less likely;
Watch the sky for first signs of a developing thunderstorm. The sound of thunder is a sign the storm is close enough to strike you. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last sign of lightning or thunder. Get to a safe place. If you are caught in a thunder and lightning storm, the best thing to do is to get to a safe place—inside a car, or substantial building—as soon as you can.
In most cases, that means keep running to get out of the storm. Seek out a hard-topped metal vehicle, or a substantial building. If lighting strikes a car, the electricity passes through the outer shell of the car and doesn’t significantly harm the people inside.
Being safe in a car has nothing to do with the fact that it has rubber tires. If you’re far from a car or building on a long run, squatting should only be used in desperation because it’s fairly insignificant in reducing the risk. Do not… If you’re caught running in a storm, you increase your risk of danger by taking shelter under a tall or isolated tree.
- Being the tallest object in the area more makes you a threat to be a direct strike;
- And since a ground current kills or injures more people than a direct strike, it’s best just to stay indoors during a sign of a thunderstorm;
Know that… Unfortunately, there are many ways lightning can hurt people. A direct strike is rare, but other forms include:
- A side flash (lightning strikes taller object and part of current jumps to the victim, which is why you shouldn’t take shelter under a tree)
- A ground current (lightning strikes nearby, travels through the ground, and enters the body at the contact point closest to the lightning strike, travels through cardiovascular and/or nervous systems and exits the body at the contact point farthest from the lightning…the most common among deaths and injuries)
- Conduction (lightning travels a long distance on something metal, which doesn’t attract lightning, but does allow it to travel…Don’t touch metal indoors that extends outside, like plumbing or electrical outlets during a lightning storm).
5. If struck… If you or someone near you is struck by any form of lightning, call 911. CPR and Automated External Defibrillators are used to treat lightning victims. Editor’s note: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was misidentified in a previous version of this article.
The name has been corrected. Lisa Jhung Lisa Jhung writes about all things adventure and is the author of Running That Doesn’t Suck: How To Love Running (Even If You Think You Hate It) and Trailhead: The Dirt on All Things Trail Running.
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Can lightning travel underground?
Water Pipes — Lightning can strike up to 2 miles away and travel through underground streams and water pipes into your home. If a water-using appliance is running, the current can cause damage to the appliance directly. It can also shock anyone using a shower or washing his hands/dishes.
Can you hear thunder 30 miles away?
Thunder can be heard up to 25 miles away , and lightning strikes have been documented to occur as far as 25 miles from thunderstorms – known as a «bolt from the blue. » So if you can hear thunder, you’re close enough to be hit by lightning, and sheltering indoors or in an enclosed car is your safest bet.
How long can a lightning bolt be?
The width of a thumb and hotter than the sun — While the intensity of a lightning strike can make them appear as thick bolts across the sky, the actual width of a lightning bolt is only about 2-3 cm. The average length of a lightning bolt is about 2-3 miles.
Where is the lightning capital of the United States?
The USA Lightning Capital In the past and in known popular belief, it was well known that Florida, specifically Central Florida near the Orlando area. Florida still narrowly holds the title in the US per Vaisala’s Interactive Global Lightning Density Map, with around 83 lightning events per square kilometer every year.
How far does lightning travel underwater?
Lightning bolts represent a tremendous discharge of electricity: 100-300 million volts and 30,000 amps. Most often, they occur between clouds, but 25 percent occur from cloud to ground. Lightning begins within clouds as updrafts carry positively charged water particles while hail and ice particles descend in downdrafts that are negatively charged, resulting in a vertical separation of electric charge within the cloud: positive near the top and negative at the base.
- Beneath the cloud, a positive charge develops at the Earth’s surface and follows the cloud horizontally;
- As vertical charge differences between cloud and ground increase, positively charged particles rise up from tall objects and lightning is formed when the cloud’s negative charge meets the positive charge from below;
It is sometimes possible to witness the positive charge «leaping up» to connect with the negative charge in an overhead storm cloud. This can be alarming for an observer as sparks begin to fly upward from an antenna or when a person’s hair stands on end.
- I’ve experienced this phenomenon at sea during an intense lightning storm;
- If this occurs, take cover immediately as a strike is imminent and you may become the lightning rod;
- Not all lightning forms at the cloud base;
Some originates at the top of a thunderstorm, which carries a large positive charge. This «positive lightning» is particularly dangerous because it can strike the ground far from the storm, either ahead or behind the storm’s active center, where people do not expect lightning risk.
- Positive lightning can strike ground up to 10 miles from a storm, even with blue sky overhead;
- Strikes from «negative lightning» are the more common, typically occurring within 5 miles of a storm;
- Learn to use thunder as a safety indicator;
Thunder is an acoustic shock wave caused from rapid heating of air (to 54,000 degrees F) by lightning. Sound travels through air at the rate of 1 mile in 5 seconds, equivalent to 6 miles in 30 seconds. If there is a lightning flash and then thunder less than 30 seconds later, take cover.
- When lightning hits the sea, most of the electrical current spreads radially outward on the surface;
- Because seawater is a good conductor, the remaining current penetrates hemispherically downward and fully dissipates less than 10 feet below the surface;
It is believed that lethal current spreads horizontally only 20 feet from the position of strike impact. Someone swimming in fresh water is at greater risk of death from lightning than someone in seawater. Because fresh water is a poor conductor of electricity, a human body becomes the sponge for electrical current from a nearby lightning strike.
In contrast, saltwater disperses electrical current rapidly in all directions and a body would receive less current from a nearby strike. Although a lightning strike carries a huge current, it is brief so the damage to an immersed body can be less than one may imagine.
Some wonder if they should jump overboard if they expect lightning will strike their vessel. This is the proverbial «Yes, but…» scenario. If it’s highly probable that a vessel will be struck by lightning, someone onboard could swim at least 50 feet from the vessel and dive 10 feet underwater until the risk passes.
- This is, of course, inconvenient and challenging unless the person is a scuba diver already geared up with a full air tank;
- (Even a diver is at risk if the strike occurs close by as the metal air tank will attract the electrical current;
) The best way to weather a lightning strike onboard a vessel is to go below and stay away from anything metal, including through-hulls, engines, tanks, wires and electronics. All swimmers and divers who have been killed by lightning were close to the surface and near the impact location.
Fish also would have been killed in this proximity to the strike. The fact that large numbers of fish are not killed at sea is because the electrical charge is lethal only near the surface and close to the impact.
It’s strictly a probability matter as most fish and mammals remain well below the surface most of the time. If someone has been struck by lightning, it is safe to immediately help them with CPR because they do not retain an electrical charge. With immediate attention, most victims can survive a lightning strike, although cardiac arrest, burns and nerve damage are common and psychological effects can be devastating.