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A thunderstorm is approaching, and suddenly you see lightning accompanied by a deafening thunder. It sounded close, very close. Calculating the distance to the lightning will help you determine whether you are at a safe distance or if you urgently need to find shelter.
Nine myths and facts about lightning
Scientists have been studying lightning for hundreds of years. Although they know very well what causes lightning, these mysterious outbreaks of electricity still hold many secrets.
At reading that the vacation season has begun in the summer, we suggest that you replenish your knowledge box with useful and interesting facts about lightning. Consider how true some of the lightning myths are.
Myth: tornadoes and hurricanes are more dangerous than lightning.
Fact: lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Only more people die from floods than from lightning.
Myth: even at home you can get lightning.
Fact: perhaps the safest place during a thunderstorm is in the house, but this does not mean that precautionary measures should not be taken.
If lightning strikes the building, then an electric current will most likely pass through the water supply or wiring before leaving the ground. Therefore, during a lightning strike, do not talk on a landline phone, stay away from running water (do not take a shower, do not wash plates and hands). Do not use a stove, computer, or other appliances connected to the mains.
Myth: lightning always brings down planes.
Fact: in reality, lightning regularly lands on planes, but rarely leads to a crash. On average, at least once a year, lightning strikes every plane. Most aircraft are made of aluminum, which is a good conductor of electricity, so strict safety rules are provided for aircraft.
Myth: during a thunderstorm, electronic devices must be turned off.
Fact: Surge current can damage the electronics, even if lightning has not entered your home. If you are not sure of the reliability of the surge protection device, turn off the computer, TV and other electronics. If you start to turn off the devices during a thunderstorm, there is a chance to undergo a shock, so this must be done before the start of a thunderstorm.
Myth: it is dangerous to be in a car during a thunderstorm.
Fact: in fact, cars are one of the safest places during a thunderstorm if you are unable to enter the building. Just make sure your car has a reliable and strong roof: a golf cart or a convertible will not work.
Myth: Lightning does not fall twice in the same place.
Fact: during a thunderstorm, lightning may fall several times in the same place.
Myth: it is not safe to be outside during a thunderstorm.
Fact: If you find yourself on the street during a thunderstorm, then try to hide in a grounded building or in a car. If this is not possible, the following tips will help minimize risk: Avoid open spaces and lonely tall objects (such as trees). Stay away from water - it conducts electricity well. Do not lie on the ground - this will increase the contact area, because if lightning strikes near the ground near you, the smaller the contact area, the less current will flow into you.
Myth: you must stay at home for another half hour after the end of the thunderstorm.
Fact: in most cases, lightning strikes people in the midst of a thunderstorm. According to the US National Meteorological Service (NMS), lightning can strike from a distance of 15 km from where it is raining, so if you hear thunder, you are in the danger zone of lightning.
The NMS advises the following advice: “If you hear thunder, then wait at home. It will be safe to leave the house half an hour after the last thunder. ”
Myth: you can determine the distance to a thunderstorm, counting how many seconds have passed from a flash of light to thunder.
Fact: surprisingly, this kids trick really works. Light travels faster than sound, therefore, first we see a flash of light, and then a peal of thunder.
To determine the distance to a thunderstorm, you need to know the speed of sound: it moves at a speed of 1 km in 3 seconds .