All Weather News

Being Struck by Lightning Is Bad Even If It Doesn’t Kill You

4 Mar 2017, 8:06 pm

Keeping people safe during all types of weather including severe thunderstorms is an important part of our mission here at WeatherNation.

We talk a lot about keeping safe during severe weather including what precautions to take to keep you safe from lightning in a thunderstorm.

Just in the United States alone there are an estimated 100,000 thunderstorms each year and each one of these individual storms can produce plenty of lightning.

Lightning safety is a big topic in part because lightning kills more people each year in the United States than tornadoes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes combined.

There may be people who discount the power and effects of lightning especially when it comes to personal safety but shouldn’t for some very important reasons.

For instance a single lightning bolt can pack up to 300kV (300,000 Volts) of energy and can heat the surrounding air to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit , which is five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

When a lightning bolt strikes a person it is often fatal but not always.
There have been many accounts of lightning strike victims with many different adverse results of being struck by lightning.  

Numerous victims will be found with their shoe blown completely off their feet. This can happen when the moisture in their shoes is quickly super heated into steam, the steam expands and the shoes explode off the victim’s feet. Of course this tremendous heat from a lightning strike can have similar effects on the human body as well.


The intense heat generated by a lightning strike can burn tissue, fuse skin cause lung damage, and the chest can be damaged by the mechanical force of rapidly expanding heated air.

Lightning often burns a victim’s skin in visible intricate patterns known as Lichtenberg figures which are sometimes called lightning flowers.  These, if not fatal can be a permanent  reminder of that fateful day.

A direct hit from a lightning bolt can certainly kill a person but sometimes it does not. Survivors of lightning strikes can suffer greatly from a large variety of issues and many times a combination of many at once.

Some injuries from lightning strikes are not realized right away and in some cases not for many years which can be even more traumatic to a person.

Injuries that are latent, can be very difficult to deal with as many people who have symptoms may not realize the cause was a lightning strike earlier in their lives.

Injuries to the circulatory system are many and can include cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial damage, and pulmonary edema and cardiac arrest.

Since the nervous system is susceptible to the electrical force of lightning brain damage, paralysis and pain are also common.

Some victims will suffer blown eardrums, bruised eyes, light sensitivity, massive headaches, concussions, burns, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, nausea, vomiting, retinal detachment and optic nerve injury just to name a few.  

Longer term and delayed injuries and ailments are numerous as well and may manifest in non physical symtoms.

Many of these are neurological in character and can include personality changes, learning disabilities, sleep disorders, seizures, permanent paralysis, dementia, amnesia, impaired reflexes, memory gaps and anxiety or depression.

Personality changes like distractibility, irritability, lack of libido, impotence, aggressiveness and many victims will self-isolate and in some cases attempt suicide.  

Sleep and fatigue issues are also a side effect and survivors may have difficulty sleeping, have the need to sleep excessively or have an inability to sleep more than two or three hours at a time.

Lightning strike victims often have difficulty with short-term memory, which can cause difficulty in many areas including job performance.

Injuries from a lightning strike can vary in intensity and complexity but many do not realize the side of lightning danger when you do survive.

A direct hit from a lightning strike doesn’t have to kill you and these are just a few things that can happen if it doesn’t.

Stay safe everyone and “When Thunder Roars” Go Indoors”.

For WeatherNation: Mike Morrison

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