Late last year, the United Nations no less, in the guise of their World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) decreed that the longest lightning strike on record was back in 2007 in Oklahoma. Ready for this? It is said that it stretched for 200 miles, which almost made it literally a state-wide event!
Longest timed lightning strike
If you prefer to use time as a measurement of length; then a cloud-to-cloud discharge flash, incidentally around 125 miles in length, seen over France’s Cote d’Azur in 2012 set the sky ablaze for an astonishing seven and three-quarter seconds.
A place to avoid on your travels!
If you’d like to know where you are most likely to experience a lightning strike – and we’re not recommending this place as your holiday destination – Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has been measured as experiencing 233 lightning flashes per square kilometre per year (again reported by the WMO).
When a whole state went dark
As an isolated event, last September in South Australia the entire state suffered a power outage, as their power grid system shut down as an act of self-protection during a storm that was described by residents as apocalyptic. During this event, it is reckoned that more than 100,000 separate strikes took place across the state. Incidentally, here in the UK we have lightning events on around 11 days of the year!
An unknown reality and a tragic event
The UN accepts that unmeasured strikes might be substantially greater than any of the above mentioned. Moving away from the spectacular figures, the reality of lightning strikes and the threat they pose was highlighted in our ‘Lightning Strike Disasters’ blog. Last year in Norway, more than 300 wild reindeer, part of Europe’s largest wild herd, are believed to have been killed by a single strike. There is even film evidence of the aftermath on YouTube.
Being struck by lightning
While there is only an infinitesimal chance of ever becoming a victim of a lightning strike, some famous folk have been struck. In 1964, footballer John White of Spurs and Scotland fame was killed as he sheltered under a tree. He was just 27. Famous golfer, Lee Trevino, still going strong in his late seventies, was hit at the Western Open tournament in 1975. He later said that after serving in the Marine Corps and after surviving a lightning strike: ‘There’s not anything I’m scared of except my wife’.
Away from record-breaking events, if you want to talk about your company or organisation’s lightening or electrical defence system needs, please call 01158 752 686 and talk to the hugely experienced Lighting Strike team.