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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.


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.