Lightning is one of mother nature’s most powerful and destructive forces, but there seems to be a lot of misinformation about it. And even though it isn’t especially common for homes to be directly struck by lightning, there have been plenty of instances where lightning struck a nearby structure, tree, or branch, causing debris to rain down onto people’s roofs. In addition, lightning can spark wildfires that threaten to cause massive fire damage to entire suburbs of homes. You need to make sure you have homeowners insurance that will cover against these types of surprises. But today, we’re going to take a look at general lightning knowledge to weed out a few myths.
Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice
A lot of people like to claim that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but as some of you may know, that simply isn’t true. Lightning takes the path of least resistance, so it commonly strikes the highest point like a tree on top of a hill. In addition, lightning rods get struck by lightning repeatedly, so this myth is easily debunked. The Empire State Building (for some reason) is everyone’s prime example of a building being struck repeatedly. Believe it or not, some types of lightning actually strike the same point multiple times in a single strike, too.
Lightning Is a Rare Occurrence
Your local climate may not get as much rain and thunderstorms as other areas (like Seattle or London). But lightning isn’t nearly as rare as some people seem to think. Meteorologists estimate that there are about 100 lightning bolt strikes every second around the world. It has even been known to strike people and cause fatalities, so exercise caution during the next storm.
Lightning Can Strike as Far as 30 Miles Away from a Storm
It may sound a little far fetched, but this one is actually true! Due to complex physics, lightning can strike great distances from the storm, which makes these types of lightning strikes incredibly dangerous. However, lightning strikes so far away are much rarer than lightning strikes within the storm, of course.
Lightning is Hotter Than the Sun
The Sun’s surface is approximately 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but could lightning possibly be hotter? Yes, it actually is! Astoundingly, lightning can be around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or roughly five times hotter than the surface of the sun. Due to the extreme temperature of lightning, it’s not surprising that it can start fires in the blink of an eye.
You’re Safe from Lightning While In a Vehicle
A vehicle will keep you safe from lightning, though probably not for the reasons you think. Most people assume that rubber tires stop electrical current from coursing through their car before running through the ground. Though it’s counter intuitive, it’s actually the metal around your car that keeps you safe. It’s referred to as a Faraday Cage in the scientific community, and helps to direct electrical current away from passengers.