That's shocking!

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day when she brought up that a classmate of hers had just been struck by lightning the day before. Totally shocked, I asked if he was alright and we were told he survived but had few minor injuries. It made me start to wonder... how do people get hit by lightning and how can they survive it?

Lightning is a giant discharge of electricity that can contain over a hundred million electrical volts (ouch! that's gotta hurt.) and it's "one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States." Scientists have averaged that the Earth is constantly struck by "more than a hundred lightning bolts every second."  It seems very odd and even miraculous that most people can survive being struck by such a force and that not everyone has been hit by lightning. 
Some studies have shown that men have four times more of a chance to get stuck by lightning then women (sorry fellows!). They have been accounted for "84% of lightning fatalities and 82% injuries." But don't worry too much because in the past 35 years "the actual number of deaths and injuries from lightning strikes has decreased."
The main reason why people get struck by lightning is this... Mobile thunderstorms are able to collect positively charged particles along the ground that follow along with the storm. While the storm is moving "the differences in charges continue to increase, positively charged particles rise up tall objects such as trees, houses, telephone poles--and people. The negatively charged bottom part of the storm sends out an invisible charge toward the ground. When the charge gets close to the ground, it is attracted by all the positively charged objects, and a channel develops. The subsequent electrical transfer in the channel is lightning." So lightning is basically attracted to tall objects that contain positively charged particles in them, which is what humans are and have. The outcome you receive from being hit by a bolt actually depends on several ways you get hit such as by a surge voltage, step voltage, contact potential, side flash, and direct strike. Direct strike is said to be "the worst kind of lightning experience-statistically it's the most fatal." If you are hit with the other types, you are said to survive because "Basically, the amount of current and voltage going through your body lessens with each of these types of strikes. If you're a victim of a direct strike, the full impact of the lightning courses through your body. In the other scenarios, the intensity is lessened because some of the energy is dispersed elsewhere." Those who survive a hit can suffer from burns, memory loss, dizziness, and circulatory and nervous system problems
There is a little bit of good news to this blog: "the odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S is1 in 700,000." and being hit by lightning in your life is a 1 in 3,000th chance. The estimated number of survivors is 400 a year in the U.S. Hopefully none of you will be the "lucky number one" to get hit or experience this situation 
So the lesson is children, if you get hit by lightning and survive you're a lucky duck! Lightning is very  dangerous so you should try to seek shelter as soon as you can if you're outside in a storm.
Here's some more helpful survival tips to avoid being struck by lightning. Make sure to be safe during the next thunder storm!!
Thanks for reading! :)


This made me wonder why men are more likely to get struck? Are they more positively charged (that question sounds incredibly weird to ask)?

I found this article: click me!

The only thing they can come up with is that men are more likely to take risks during a storm (or lightning storm) than women. I guess that makes sense, I know my dad likes to go outside and watch the storms while I'd much rather just stay in the house and watch TV! It'd be interesting to see someone do some research, though, and see if there is another relationship that explains this trend!

That's so crazy that your friend's classmate was struck by lightning! Did he mention how it felt, or what he remembers from the experience? Do you know where was he during the storm? I know a few years ago my dad was walking outside during a thunderstorm and said that the hairs on his arm stood straight up and that he could feel a surge of energy through his body. Luckily he wasn't struck by lightning, but it's interesting to think about how our environment can send vibrations and radiations through our body... a lot of the time without us even knowing. Really great blog! And I hope your friend's classmate recovers.

Like Jennifer said, I am amused with the fact that men are four times more likely to be struck by lighting than women. Do men put themselve in risk more than women? It must be because I cannot see any correlation between being struck by lighting and ones gender. But then again,, I am taking this class and clearly am not a scientist. I first thought about activities that seem to be more male dominated than female, and specifically activities that put one in danger of lighting. First thing I thought of is golf. This study conducted in 1997 by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association shows that golf only accounted for 5% of deaths because of lighting over 35 years. About 50% of deaths occured in parks, open fields, under trees, and during water related activities. All of these do not seem gender biased. So why are 4 out of 5 people to be struck by lighting male? The world will never know. (Until someone who actually knows science will follow up on this and use my tax dollars to prove this epic mystery!)

Great article. I can't imagine getting struck by lightning and although it is not likely to happen, there's always a slim chance that it can. Unfortunately, this past week an elderly man from my town was struck by lightning and it was fatal. Here's the article:
Lightning is definitely nothing to disregard so during storms it's important to stay inside.

Wow, that's really insane. I've always wondered if it was really safe to walk home through a thunderstorm, or if it was safe to use an umbrella when doing so. I also wonder how it felt, and stories of others who have been struck by lightening and lived to tell the tale.

I also find it interesting that men are more likely to be struck (is that because they are generally taller?)

That's crazy! This post was so interesting and a big warning to me. I never knew too much about storms and although I know they're really dangerous, I usually don't think twice about walking outside during one. My friends tell me I'm crazy! I just never think I'll be the one to get struck. But, I do know someone who has been struck by lightening THREE TIMES! She is a year younger than me and lives in my home town. She survived all three times which is so lucky. Also, I was also thinking that maybe men are more likely to be struck because they are taller than women. The girl I know who got struck three times is 6 feet tall (A great basketball player and still can play since she has recovered!)

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