It’s Electric! The 411 on Lightning [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Aug24

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It’s Electric! The 411 on Lightning [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

BOOM! There it is! Another flash of lighting and a crack of thunder. Nothing says summer quite like a big old thunderstorm, and while the lightning can be amazing to watch, it can also be quite dangerous. Some spectacular shots have been caught on camera and these videos, are, well, shocking!

Say, let’s get out our camcorder and take some video of this thunderstorm – until lightning strikes that tree 20’ foot away!

Love the slow-mo and the stills! That tree is totally lit up!

In this next video from Australia, a crew of photographers is shooting an approaching storm when a large bolt strikes about 250 meters away. Check out how the dirt flies during the slow motion close-up!

The Empire State Building was built to withstand lightning strikes as most skyscrapers are. Without the lightning rod on the top, the electric current would seriously damage the building, but being one of the tallest in New York City – it gets struck all the time.


In this shocking video from South Africa, lightning strikes during a live soccer (or football) game broadcast on TV.  Many of the players go down, some requiring CPR, and several being carried off the field in a stretcher.

Next to Japan, where the local news has video of an elderly pedestrian getting struck by lightning in a crosswalk! Forward about 18 seconds in. Amazingly, the man is only dazed and walks off.

In Texas, where severe lighting and storms knock out the power to a neighborhood. A local resident is recording video of the mass amounts of lighting strikes when one nails his neighbor’s house across the street. Fast forward to 1:05 to see the hit. Caution: the language is rather colorful.

Here’s super-cool video of a passenger airplane taking off in San Francisco that gets struck

Lastly, let’s go out with a bang! Atlantic City, New Jersey was mostly evacuated during Hurricane Irene last August. During the storm, lighting takes out a substation and darkens the entire city. This was captured from a police monitoring station, looking northward from the Revel casino towards the Absecon lighthouse. Listen to the police scanner as it all goes down!

Lightning is a discharge of atmospheric electricity, caused by rising moist air that interacts with rain drops or ice moving inside a cloud, causing friction and a charge to build up.

Here are a few more fun facts about lightning:

• There are over 2,000 thunderstorms occurring on the planet at any time

• Lightning strikes 40 to 50 times per second around the globe

• A lightning flash is only a few centimeters wide, but can be miles long

• Lightning heats the air to over 20,000° C.

• A single lightning bolt unleashes as much energy as blowing up a ton of TNT

• A lightning strike is made up of three to twelve individual “spokes” each lasting a few thousandths of a second.

• Lightning produces a current between 30,000 – 50,000 amps

• Lightning replenishes Nitrogen in the soil

• Erupting volcanoes, dense forest fires, hurricanes, blizzards, and nuclear detonations can trigger a lightning strike

• Lightning has been observed on Venus, Jupiter and Saturn

• A storm is one mile away when thunder is heard roughly 5 seconds after a lightning flash

It’s estimated that 10,000 – 24,000 people each year are killed, and hundreds of thousands more are injured, by lightning. While there are many theories on what to do to stay safe during a storm, experts recommend the following safety precautions:

• Seek shelter in a sturdy building or car if you hear thunder less than 30 seconds after a lightning flash. Remain there until 30 minutes after the last crash of thunder.

• Keep all doors and windows closed and stay away from metal windowsills and panes

• Do not seek shelter in sheds, picnic pavilions, baseball dugouts, golf carts, motorcycles or soft top vehicles

• Avoid contact with anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet

• Avoid using water faucets, washing dishes, or showering during the storm

• Portable phones, laptop computers, IPODs, and flashlights are completely safe to use as long as they are not plugged in

• Do not remain outside during a storm

• Lighting can and does strike the same place more than once

• Call 911 if you see someone struck by lightning.  Victims are completely safe to touch and do not contain residual electricity if they require immediate medical attention.

THE 411

What: lightning
Cause: electrical discharge released in association with a thunderstorm


Get to know and follow the above tips and stay safe during a storm.

BONUS CLIP! This really has nothing to do with lightning, but you’ve got to check out this close up view of a transformer exploding next to an apartment building! Turn your speakers up nice and loud for this spectacular piece of video!

Image credits: snowpeak, Leszek.Leszcynski, & Uncle Jerry in Golden Valley, AZ

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