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Archive for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Weather myths and facts

March 11, 2009

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Myth:

If it’s not raining, there is no danger from lightning.

Fact:

Lightning often strikes outside heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.

Myth:

The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from being struck by lightning.

Fact:

Rubber-soles of shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. The steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle.

Myth:

The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to “explode” as the tornado passes overhead.

fact:

Winds and debris slamming into buildings cause most structural damage.

Myth:

When playing sports and thunderstorms threaten, it’s okay to finish the game before seeking shelter.

Fact:

Sports is the activity with the fastest-rising rate of lightning casualties. No game is worth death or lifelong severe injury. All people associated with sports should have a lightning safety plan and stick to it strictly. Seek proper shelter immediately when lightning threatens. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.

Myth:

A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.

Fact:

The human body doesn’t store electricity. It is safe to administer first aid to a lightning victim. Imagine someone dying needlessly, for want of simple CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

More facts:

• Flash flooding is the No. 1 cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms.

• Two feet of water on a bridge or highway can float most vehicles. Nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related.

• Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year and have occurred in every state.

• The energy from one lightning flash could light a 100-watt bulb for more than three months.

• The air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Codell, Kan., was struck by tornadoes on the same day in three consecutive years — May 20, 1916, 1917 and 1918.

• Of the victims who were killed by lightning in 2007:

• 98 percent were outside

• 89 percent were male

• 30 percent were males between the ages of 20 and 25

• 25 percent were standing under a tree

• 25 percent occurred on or near the water

Comments

gr 5 years, 1 month ago

Ah.... So, 500 MJ is about 139 KW hours with the lightbulb at .1KW giving 1390 KW hours or 58 days.

I guess every time they talk about lighting in the news, they act as if 500MJ is a great big number. It's not really. Except when 58 days of electricity of a light bulb runs through you in a fraction of a second.

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gphawk89 5 years, 1 month ago

Average lightning bolt = 500 megajoules = 500,000,000 watt-seconds. So the 100-watt bulb would run for 5,000,000 seconds, or 58 days. So surprisingly it was actually an overstatement.

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missmia 5 years, 1 month ago

"Sports is the activity with the fastest-rising rate of lightning casualties"

shouldn't it be "sports are the activities with..."?

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gr 5 years, 1 month ago

"The energy from one lightning flash could light a 100-watt bulb for more than three months."

Something tells me that is an understatement.

"98 percent were outside • 89 percent were male"

Hmmm.... And who wants to go outside to get a good view of the storm?

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