Deadly Lightning Catches Kenya School Off-guard Before Rainfall

  • Nov 10, 2015

A strong thunderstorm cell made its way through Homa Bay County, Kenya on 16 October 2015 and left devastation in its wake. Seemingly sporadic cloud-to-ground lightning strikes flashed before the rain began to fall, catching many civilians by surprise
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One of these bolts of lightning struck a group of five students, killing one of them instantly and injuring the other four.

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Throughout the day, the storm grew stronger as it moved westward towards Homa Bay County and Lake Victoria. The image above generated from our ENcast forecasting system shows all of the cloud-to-ground and in-cloud lightning strikes during a six hour period.

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The importance of not just cloud-to-ground, but total lightning detection is extremely important in cases where cloud-to-ground lightning is sparse. Our Earth Networks Total Lightning Detection was able to pick up a high concentration of in-cloud lightning strikes (purple) making their way towards the village of Ndhiwa, just a half an hour before the deadly strike. As you can see, there are not a lot of cloud-to-ground strikes so many people thought they had time to seek shelter.

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This image illustrates the strike that we believe to have impacted the lives of those at Magina Girls Secondary School. This strike happened at 3pm local time.