Lightning kills many in Rajasthan and UP; cause, precautions explained

Lightning claimed at least 22 lives across Rajasthan, including 11 in Jaipur after rain lashed several parts of the state recently. Around two dozen people were injured across the state in rain-related incidents.

Earlier, many states in the country witnessed lightning deaths and casualties even. Deaths due to lightning have become frequent in the country. 

There onwards many have doubts regarding the accidental death rise due to lightning. Without knowing the exact reason for the cause, we will not be able to cope up with the situation. Facts and figures show the exact reason why this phenomenon and what makes this phenomenon happen especially during the rainy season.

Safety measures and precautions against many disasters have been taken but disasters like lightning precautions are least bothered and haven’t got much publicity.

How does lightning strike

Lightning is an electric current. Within a thundercloud way up in the sky, many small bits of ice (frozen raindrops) bump into each other as they move around in the air. All of those collisions create an electric charge. After a while, the whole cloud fills up with electrical charges. 

Smaller ice crystals are moving up and bigger crystals are coming down. Collisions follow and trigger the release of electrons — a process that is very similar to the generation of sparks of electricity. As the moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons, a chain reaction ensues.

This process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged, while the middle layer is negatively charged. The electrical potential difference between the two layers is huge — of the order of a billion to 10 billion volts. In very little time, a massive current, of the order of 100,000 to a million amperes, starts to flow between the layers.

An enormous amount of heat is produced, and this leads to the heating of the air column between the two layers of the cloud. This heat gives the air column a reddish appearance during lightning. As the heated air column expands, it produces shock waves that result in thunder.

Precautions

Although lightning rarely hits people, strikes are almost always fatal.

You can protect yourself from risk even if you are caught outdoors when lightning is close by.

1.If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity.

2.Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with windows rolled up.

3.Don’t forget the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.

4.If you are caught in an open area, act quickly to find adequate shelter. The most important action is to remove yourself from danger. Crouching or getting low to the ground can reduce your chances of being struck but does not remove you from danger. If you are caught outside with no safe shelter nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges, or peaks.
  • Never lie flat on the ground. Crouch down in a ball-like position with your head tucked and hands over your ears so that you are down low with minimal contact with the ground.
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree.
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
  • Immediately get out of and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (such as barbed wire fences, power lines, or windmills).

5.Stay away from concrete floors or walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.

By taking and considering these measures we can reduce fatality.

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