Seven Sizzling Lightning Links

Today's news story about 323 reindeer in Norway getting struck and killed by lightning in addition to a whomper of a storm cloud I recently watched pass overhead (and hit somebody else) got me thinking about lightning. We sailors, especially those of us who live in climates which bring afternoon thunderstorms regularly in summer, think about lightning more than most people.

If we fear lightning, it's perfectly normal--we sail on boats on water with metal sticks sticking out the top. Our chances of getting struck are greater than most people who may be smart enough to ride out thunderstorms inside (however maybe not smart enough to stop using the computer or doing dishes near windows).

Here are seven sizzling lightning resources for you:

    1. The Norwegian reindeer story.... "We've heard about animals being struck by lightning and killed, but I don't remember hearing about lightning killing animals on this scale before," Norwegian Nature Inspectorate spokesman Knut Nylend tells the Norwegian news outlet NTB, as cited by The Local."Reindeer are pack animals and are often close together. During a heavy thunderstorm, they may have gathered even closer together out of fear," he told the news site. (read the rest here)
    2. A chart of this year's 32 lightning fatalities in the U.S. Victims were doing everything from walking dogs and riding horses and Jet skis to searching for arrowheads on a beach. The lesson I got out of this chart is DO NOT watch a storm from under a tree. Ever.
    3. Here's a neat interactive feature from National Geographic.
    4. Here are some great tips on photographing lightning. 
    5. A fascinating Outside online article from two years ago, "The Body Electric" by Ferris Jafr, about people who've survived lightning strikes and how they even get together for conferences!

      "The evidence suggests that lightning injuries are, for the most part, injuries to the brain, the nervous system, and the muscles. Lightning can ravage or kill cells, but it can also leave a trail of much subtler damage. Cooper and other researchers have speculated that chronic issues are the result of lightning scrambling each individual survivor’s unique internal circuitry. She points out that even tiny amounts of electricity zipping through the body can permanently alter the behavior of neurons and other cells..." read the whole story here