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This was me:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH6a9HefNr4

Even just standing in an open doorway during a thunderstorm is a really bad idea.  Don't try this at home, kids.

Judging by the delay from the flash to the boom, the bolt hit less than 400 feet (120 meters) away.  And it appears there was a leader less than 100 feet (30 meters) away.


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Oct. 3rd, 2007 07:29 am (UTC)
Lightning doesn't even have to hit you directly to kill you. When the bolt hits the ground, it dumps a shitload of charge into that point in the ground. Voltage can be measured as the difference in electric field strength between two points. (Potential difference) The strength of an electric field diminishes with the square of distance from a point charge, so if the bolt hits close by, and you have two body parts some distance apart on the ground, you may get several thousand volts going through your nuts. (Question from one of my college physics tests.) The prof claimed that cows quite often are killed by lightning due to this effect. It would also explain why it's a very bad idea to hide under a tree during an electrical storm. (Very close to the trunk, where the main charge from any bolt hitting the tree is going to be dumped)

On a side note, I remember when I was 4 years old or so, and a large positive bolt hit one of the huge oak trees just outside my grandpa's house. It was the loudest boom I'd ever heard, and the tree was completely burnt into a stump.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 3rd, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
When the bolt hit, it knocked me backwards and I accidentally hit the shutter button on the camera, stopping it. That's why it cuts off so abruptly.

Unfortunately, I can't easily get over there. Those woods are very thick, in the middle is a steep ravine which is very difficult to cross and on the other side of the woods is a fence protecting the neighbor's corn field. The nearest bridge is only about 1/2 mile down, but I'd have to tramp through the neighbor's fields for another 1/4 mile or so.
Oct. 3rd, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
Oct. 3rd, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
I don't think youtube lets you see every frame. When I play it, all I'm sure I see is the leader, but if I pause it and drag the time scrollbar, I can only see the main flash. If I pause and unpause it several times, I don't see either. I hate youtube. Can you extract and post those two frames?
Oct. 3rd, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Wow, the leader is very red.
Oct. 4th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
I remember when I was in Virginia and a lightning bolt nearly turned a pine tree near the barracks into mulch.
Oct. 5th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC)
Your reaction reminds me of mine when I came pretty close to being hit: I was living in Arkansas at the time, and there was a storm in the distance .. seemed maybe half an hour away, so I figured I had time for a walk before it started to pour. I got about two blocks from the house when my hair stood up, and my brain barely had time to go, "Oh sh*t!" when lightning struck a power pole half a block away.

I have no conscious recollection of returning to the house ... only arriving on the front porch out of breath after running all the way home. :)
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