Dangerous Lightning Strikes around the World

  • Oct 23, 2015

Although thunderstorms are often associated with the warm summer months, lightning strikes can happen at any place on the globe at any time. In the past few weeks we’ve seen numerous violent lightning storms setting fire to homes, causing dangerous traveling conditions, and even ending lives. Below are three examples that highlight the impact lightning has had on the world over the last two months.

India

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6 September 2015: Lightning battered the southeastern coast of India for 12 hours straight, leaving a shocking 28 civilians dead.

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The above image generated by our ENcast forecasting system shows an alarming amount of both cloud-to-ground (yellow) and in-cloud (purple) lightning in the area from the hours of 6:00am and 12:00pm.

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The southern state of Andhra Pradesh, picture above was hit the hardest by storms on Sunday, with 19 of the 28 causalities happening within that region.  Most of those who lost their lives were believed to be agricultural workers who were stuck out in the fields as the storms suddenly moved in.

South Africa

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5 September, 2015: A South African home located in the province of KwaZulu—Natal was struck by lightning, resulting in the death of two of its residents. The storm moved from over the Indian Ocean onto the east coast of South Africa on Monday evening. The two victims, who were sisters, were struck in their home while they were asleep.

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ENcast picked up numerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes represented in yellow in the above picture. Lightning season is underway on the continent of Africa and fatal lightning strikes such as this one, unfortunately, are not uncommon.

Australia

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20 October, 2015: Just this week a large storm system hit the capital of Australia and the surrounding area on the southeast coast. On Monday evening lightning struck two women in different towns in the affected area.

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Photo: Daniel Shaw

One of the most dramatic images from this storm system came when a flight attempted to land at Sydney airport. This lightning strike appeared to just miss a Qantas passenger aircraft.

pulserad sydney

Our PulseRad system displays the strong storm cell as it moved through Sydney Tuesday evening. These thunderstorms also brought hailstones, flash flooding and damaging winds to the metropolitan area. PulseRad is Earth Network’s visualization and nowcasting system and is the first practical radar alternative capable of coverage on both a national and continental scale.

Remember no matter where you are on the globe and no matter the season, it is always important to be aware of the weather and practice basic lightning safety.