Lightning: What you need to know

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Lightning is one of the most spectacular and beautiful weather phenomenons out there. But, it can also be deadly.

Believe it or not, there’s a lot to still learn about lightning. While researchers are still learning the exact mechanisms behind how lightning works, it’s important to take steps to keep yourself safe.

What we do know about lightning is that it is caused by electrical imbalances within clouds or between storm clouds and the ground.

These electrical imbalances are caused by the collision of ice, snow, and rain particles within the cloud. A negative charge forms on the lower edges of the cloud while the ground and objects on the ground become positively charged. Lightning is there to correct this imbalance.

Additional Lightning Facts

  • Lightning is hot! In fact, it’s 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • It’s also extremely dangerous. Around 2,000 people a year are killed by lightning.
  • You have a 1 in 3,000 chance of being struck in your lifetime. The more time you spend outside during inclement weather, the more likely you are to be hit.
  • It’s estimated that 10 percent of lightning strike victims die and 70 percent of people who are hit suffer from serious side effects that can last a lifetime.
  • Being hit by lightning can even change your personality.

So remember, when thunder roars, head indoors.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee is February 23rd – 29th. The News 2 Weather Authority has special reports for you all week. On Wednesday, Chief Meteorologist Danielle Breezy brings you the stories of Storm Survivors. You’ll meet people from across Middle Tennessee who came face-to-face with deadly storms, as they share the lessons taken away from their close calls.

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