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WATCH: Slow-Motion – Lightning Zapping the Grand Canyon

8 Sep 2015, 2:19 pm

Grand Canyon LightningIn this new video footage from National Park Service Ranger Erin Whittaker shows closer and slowed down look at a storm moving into the Grand Canyon.

Who says lightning never strikes twice?

According to NASA: Cloud-to-ground lightning frequently strikes the ground in two or more places and that the chances of being struck are about 45 percent higher than what people commonly assume.

William C. Valine and E. Philip Krider in the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Arizona, co-authors of the study, took to the field using video and other technology to study lightning, which is one of the biggest weather-related killers in the United States, superseded only by extreme heat and flooding.

They recorded 386 cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flashes on videotape during the summer of 1997 in Tucson, Arizona. They found that within their sample of 386 flashes, 136 flashes (35 percent) struck the ground in two or more places that were separated by tens of meters (yards) or more. There were a total of 558 different strike points; therefore, on average, each cloud-to-ground flash struck the ground in 1.45 places.

Lightning occurs when there is a discharge of electricity between large volumes of excess positive and negative charge that accumulate in thunder clouds. Lightning most commonly occurs in thunderstorms, but it also can occur in snowstorms, sandstorms, in the ejected material over volcanoes. Most lightning takes place within or between clouds; on average, only about one-third of all discharges actually strike the ground. The peak temperature in a lightning channel is around 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 5 times hotter than the surface of the Sun.

According to the National Weather Service, lightning causes an average of 93 deaths and 300 injuries in the United States each year. The National Severe Storms Laboratory recommends that a safe distance from a previous flash is at least 6 to 8 miles.

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