What Do You Know About Lightning?
We get a ton of thunderstorms here in Metro Detroit, MI. During thunderstorms, many of us like to sit and watch the bright flashes of lightning. It can be peaceful just to watch and listen as lightning and thunder strikes with the smooth sound of rain in the background. Since we are in thunderstorm season, let's learn about lightning!
The National Geographic defines lightning as an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves. Most of the time, lightning occurs within the clouds.
Here are some interesting facts you might not know about lightning:
- Lightning creates heat hotter than the sun – Experts believe that lightning can be as hot as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lightning can strike the same place more than once – Tall buildings or areas with conducive topography can see numerous lightning strikes. For example, the Empire State Building has been reportedly struck by lightning around 23 times per year.
- Lightning strikes multiple places at once – A single lightning bolt can strike more than one place at the same time. A videographer from Chicago once recorded a single lightning strike hitting the Willis Tower, Trump Tower and the John Hancock Building, three of city’s tallest buildings.
- Lighting can be up to 90 miles long – Martin Uman, lightning researcher, detected lightning channels as long as 90 miles.
- Florida experiences more lightning than any other state – Out of the top 15 counties in the United States with the most lightning strikes in 2018, 14 were in Florida.
- Venezuela experiences more lightning more than anywhere – Lake Maracaibo holds the record for “highest concentration of lightning,” according to The Guinness Book of World Records.
- More than 1 billion lightning strikes hit earth annually – The planet is hit by lightning an average of 1.4 billion times per year. If each of those strikes hit a person, humanity would come to an end in five years.
- Thunder does not exist without lightning – Thunder is the sound of lightning, it is the noise created as air expands and contracts rapidly in the lightning’s resonating tube.
- A lightning bolt can have up to a billion volts of electricity – This is about the same amount of power as 79.4 million car batteries.
- Benjamin Franklin came up with lightning protection – Franklin came up with the idea of securing lightning rods to the tops of buildings to protect structures from the impact of lightning.