Damaging Lightning Strikes in KwaZulu-Natal

  • Feb 22, 2016

One man was killed and another 15 injured by lightning strikes in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa on 8 December 2015. A 40 year-old-man was struck and killed about 6 kilometers from Dundee, on the road to Greytown. Lightning strikes throughout the Umzinyati district were responsible for the other 15 injuries.

The above video shows the cloud-to-ground lightning strikes (yellow) picked up by the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network in the KwaZulu-Natal province during the afternoon and evening hours of 8 December. Dangerous lightning storms are a common event in South Africa and the KwaZulu-Natal provincial Emergency Medical Services is urging people to stay indoors with windows closed during severe weather conditions. The South African Weather Service reports that the chance of being struck by lightning in South Africa in 1 in 350,000 but it can be reduced by:

  • Staying indoors during a lightning storm
  • Not holding any metal object or using the phone or any other electrical appliance
  • Not taking a bath or shower
  • Avoiding hilltops, lone trees, isolated sheds, fences, telephones, and powerlines if out in the open

The minutes matter most when individuals are not near safe shelter, like when they are playing a sport, traveling, or near the waterfront. Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts powered by Earth Networks Total Lightning Network can help protect lives from severe weather by providing the earliest possible notification. Earth Networks lightning sensors detect the most lightning because they look out for cloud-to-ground lightning and in-cloud lightning, which accounts for 80% of all lightning strikes. These warnings often help people reach shelter before cloud-to-ground lightning strikes.