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A shocking season for lightning
Posted: 25 June 2009 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/06/24/weather.lightning.strikes/index.html

Deadly June opens season of lightning strikes

One 12-year-old Virginia boy was playing baseball when it happened.

The same week, a 33-year-old man was struck while jogging in Texas, a 70-year-old California woman was hit while doing yard work and a Kentucky man, 44, fell victim while waiting under a tree for a ride.

They are among 11 people killed already this month by lightning strikes in the United States, according to the National Weather Service.

“Lightning is very random in terms of fatalities,” National Weather Service lightning safety expert John Jensensius told CNN. “We normally see a good amount of lightning in June, but this is unusually high. There really is no good explanation of why that’s the case.”

Six of the 15 lightning-strike deaths in the U.S. so far this year occurred in California, Texas and Florida, with the rest scattered through the South, Midwest and West. No deaths have occurred in the Northeast so far, “likely due to the cool, damp pattern we’ve seen in New England,” Jensensius said. “There have been less severe thunderstorms there.”

Summer is the deadliest season for lightning strikes because of the frequency of thunderstorms and the fact that more people are outdoors. This week, the first official week of summer, marks “Lightning Safety Awareness Week” for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The agency’s message is “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.” That’s because all the people killed by lightning in the U.S. so far this year—and the 28 killed in 2008—were outdoors. Taking shelter under trees offers little safety—nearly one-third of the people killed by lightning last year were under a tree when they were hit.

More than 400 people in the U.S. are hit by lightning each year, according to the National Weather Service. Lightning, on average, kills more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined (among all weather-related fatalities, only floods kill more). While not all injuries result in death, many victims are left with devastating and permanent disabilities.

You may remember that as a child you were told to count the seconds between a lightning flash and thunder to see how far away the lightning was. But by the time you calculate it, it may be too late. Sometimes thunder and lightning can happen simultaneously.

Despite its “Sunshine State” nickname, Florida receives more cloud-to-ground lightning than any other state in the country, according to data from NASA satellites.

But Florida does not receive the most lightning in the world. According to NASA research, that dubious honor goes to the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 158 strikes per square kilometer each year. Thunderstorms occur in Central Africa year-round.

Here are some commonly asked lightning questions:

How powerful is lightning?

According to the National Weather Service, “each spark of lightning can reach over five miles in length, soar to temperatures of approximately 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit and contain 100 million electrical volts.”

Can wearing rubber shoes protect you from lightning?

No. That’s a myth, and there are lots of them out there. For facts on lightning safety, visit http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/.

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Posted: 25 June 2009 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It must be the Illuminati…that would explain the name!

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Posted: 25 June 2009 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Our lightning season started back in April, I think.  It coincides with tornado season…

And the Tampa bay area is the lightning capitol of the northern hemisphere…even if not the world.  smile

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Posted: 25 June 2009 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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We usually get a couple strikes that I see during the spring and summer.  There has been a strangely large amount of thunderstorms with lightning here this year, I feel like Missouri has followed me here.  The rivers are at flood stage, the city lake is out of its banks.  It is all very confusing, I don’t know who I am anymore.

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Posted: 25 June 2009 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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*...Looks up from the Weather Modification Array Control Console…*

*...Flicks a switch then steps back a few steps with his hands behind his back…*

Um, right.  No idea why the lightning is so bad this year. blank stare

*...Sidles slowly out of the room…*

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Posted: 25 June 2009 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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We have had a couple of awesome lightning storms this year.  I love getting out on the deck and watching them where I can be somewhat dry.  A good storm is awesome to watch.  smile

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Posted: 25 June 2009 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I used to love to stand out on the balcony at the local college dorm. (About the 7th floor.)  Awesome and wonderful. So much raw power and beauty.

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Posted: 25 June 2009 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The problem here is that we’re right in the middle of a heavily-forested mountain range.  So you very very rarely get any vast sweeping vistas.  The horizon is generally about a quarter mile away and maybe thirty degrees up from where it would be if the place was flat.  And even if you climb to the top of a mountain or ridge, it’s covered in tall trees and you can’t see anything but trees and rocks.  So you can only really see the storms when they’re actually right on top of you, rather than when they’re coming up in the distance.  And if you are up somewhere high where you can see the lightning approaching, then you probably are busy working out how to get down to someplace where you’re less likely to be zapped.

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Posted: 25 June 2009 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Maegan - 25 June 2009 02:09 PM

And the Tampa bay area is the lightning capitol of the northern hemisphere…even if not the world.  smile

Well, yeah.  You have a whole hockey arena full of it.

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Posted: 25 June 2009 09:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Tah - 25 June 2009 09:12 PM
Maegan - 25 June 2009 02:09 PM

And the Tampa bay area is the lightning capitol of the northern hemisphere…even if not the world.  smile

Well, yeah.  You have a whole hockey arena full of it.

You beat me to it raspberry

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Posted: 25 June 2009 11:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Monsoon season hasn’t even started here in Arizona yet. I’ve been waiting for the storms the last couple of weeks.

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Posted: 26 June 2009 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I think ours have just started…Hopefully it’ll break up some of this heat.  Feels like is up to 110 in some places.  It was 107 here the other day.  Out in TX, Eric’s PT was canceled for a few days to see if a soldier’s death was b/c of the heat.

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