Lightning is a natural phenomenon that occurs more often than we think it does. That streaking flash, followed by a loud rumbling noise, that makes your knees buckle is very dangerous because of its unpredictable striking force. Being struck by lightning can be deadly, so the more precautions you take ahead of time, the safer you are. Lightning not only affects us, it also has a great impact on our man-made structures and of course, our natural surroundings.
According to Professor Martin Uman, one of the world’s leading lightning experts:
Lightning is an effect of electrification within a thunderstorm. As the
thunderstorm develops, interactions of charged particles produce an
intense electrical field within the cloud. A large positive charge is
usually concentrated in the frozen upper layers of the cloud and a large
negative charge with a smaller positive are is found in the lower portions. (4)
This produces what you see, a lightning flash, which may be “two or 300 feet long” (25). The flash itself may be only as wide as a pencil, but because it is extremely hot, hotter than the sun, its glow appears to be very wide to the human eye. When lightning pushes the air from its path, it expands it quickly causing a
loud explosion, which we call thunder (25). William R. Newcott, part of the National Geographic Editorial Staff, describes lightning as a “river of electricity rushing through a canyon of air. Moving [SIC] fast as 100,000 miles a second, lightning sears wild and unstoppable through twisted channel as long as ten miles,” (83) he explained.
Lightning, being a natural occurrence, is very unpredictable which makes it even more dangerous. Martin Uman, director of the University of Florida’s Lightning Research Laboratory is quoted in Omni saying, “A man was talking on a telephone near Gainesville, Florida...