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Can Lightning Strike Twice in the Same Place? Yes It Can

Author:

Michael is interested in life's little oddities and finds writing helps him to understand the world around him.

Lightning strikes caught on camera

While at home in my garden, not only did lightning strike twice in the same place twice. it was right in front of me, and we captured it on a video camera. We didn't know that we had captured such a rare event until we played the video through the TV.

The video has been slowed down using YouTube's video editor, so you can clearly see the red leaders coming off of my friend and me.

In the following photos and video you can see just how close it was. It is amazing that we didn't get hit.

The red leaders can be seen coming off of both my friend and I and reaching up to the sky. These red coloured leaders are the paths that lightning follows to earth. We couldn't see them until we watched the video back.

These leaders come up from ground objects including people and connect to the lightning bolt giving it a route to ground.

You can sometimes tell when you are about to get hit, as your hair stands up and you may feel a tingling sensation.

We are both extremely lucky to be alive. The slow motion conversion has made the video sound a bit weird.

Lightning Strikes Twice...Slow Motion Edit

Storm Overhead

Photos of the storm

Photos of the storm

lightning strike
lightning bolt

Near miss

My friend Neil, was literally just telling me how dangerous lightning was. As he finished the sentence there was an almighty crack of thunder, immediately followed by a lightning strike, not 3 feet in front of him.

We jumped out of our skins and thought that it had struck about 20 feet away and were quite amazed that we had witnessed such an event so close.

Imagine how flabbergasted we were when we saw how close it really was. What is more, when we watched the video back in slow motion; we saw that we had just probably escaped death or a fatal injury, by pure luck.

On the video on slow playback we could clearly see "two red leaders/streamers" coming off of both Neil and myself.

The red leaders or streamers come up from surface artifacts (people and objects) these rise up to connect to the lightning, and give it a "pathway" to ground.

2012 Biggest ever Recorded Lightning Storm in the UK

Over to you

Protection the science bit

Many of the things we were told were not only untrue but in many cases completely wrong.

"Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place?" It does.

Or

"The chances of getting struck by lightning are low?" No its not.

A few facts about lightning strikes.

" The discharge of atmospheric electricity, a leader of a bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of 220,000 km/h (140,000 mph), and can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 °C (54,000 °F). Source Wikipedia

First things first. The odds of being struck in your lifetime (if you lived to be 80 years) are 1 in 3000. That means you have less chance of winning the UK lottery, than getting struck by lightning. The UK lottery estimates your chance of winning at, 14 million to 1.

Do the math. OK I'll do it for you 14,000.000 / 3000 = 4666.66. So you have 4,667 times more chances of getting struck by lightning than winning the UK lottery.

Lightning Tourism

People actually go on holiday to areas with high lightning activity. They really enjoy watching these storms. 'Around the world, lightning strikes the ground about 100 times each second, or 8 million times a day.

There are roughly 5 to 10 times as many cloud flashes as there are to cloud-to-ground flashes, so the total amount of lightning is quite a bit higher. Source:- NOAA

The good news is you and I don't live in Valparaiso (I assume) Apparently the most lightning struck area on the planet. I hope this information helps you to decide to:-

4 top tips of lightning safety.

(1) Stay indoors when lightning is striking.

(2) Do not stand under trees or use an umbrella in a storm.

(3) If you get caught out in the open, try to crouch down close to the ground.

(4) If you are in a car you are generally safe. The body of a car acts just like a Faraday cage. Which will protect you from lightning bolts. The lightning travels around the metal body of the car.

Not much help if your car is a convertible. Good luck and keep safe.

Sleep Meditation Thunderstorm

It might sound counter intuitive but there is such a thing as a sleep meditation thunderstorm. The sounds actually help people to fall asleep.

I must admit that I do enjoy watching these storms especially from a sheltered dry place.

There is nothing as soothing as listening to the sounds raindrops, and of a storm passing overhead.

The rising crescendo as the storm builds and finally dissipates into almost silently falling droplets. It is very relaxing.

Sleep Meditation Thunderstorm

Event location

Comments

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 21, 2013:

That's interesting Tod Zechiel, to see actual physical evidence of a double strike.

We didn't realise we had had a double strike, until we watched the video back.

Tod Zechiel from Florida, United States on October 19, 2013:

I worked on a small wildfire one time. Part of the job was to determine the ignition source of the fire. We traced it down to tree that was struck with a fire scare traveling down to the base of the tree and igniting pine needle duff and oak leaves. Ironically, that same tree got struck again after the fire had burnout out around the tree. This was evident as splinters of unburned wood were strewn about the tree on charred ground.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on July 23, 2012:

Hi Robrescuer,

Lol you did give me a laugh. Photshopped? If you check you will see that the lightning strike actually was right in front of us. We didn't get hit even though it was right there. Lucky I guess. We only saw the red streamers coming from us, when we played it back. It is amazing but I can assure you there has been no fiddling with the video of photos. Thanks for your interesting comment.

Robrescuer on July 22, 2012:

Clearly faked, because in some frames, the lightning suspiciously ends at a fence or roof boundary. Photoshopped quite skillfully, though. If you had really been struck within three feet, you would definitely have felt it more than you appear to let on. And I do not imagine your video would have survived the strike. Having really been indirectly hit by lightning at a distance of maybe 10-20 feet, I think I know what I am saying.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on January 23, 2012:

Hi tammyfrost,

Good call on 'not' getting a convertible lol

Could be an invitation to the lightning gods to strike!

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on January 23, 2012:

Hello alocsin,

I was so amazed at the pictures we took in that storm over Cape Town. To actually see that the strike was in our own garden was 'shocking' lol

Thanks for SHARING.

Tammy Winters from Oregon on January 22, 2012:

I am not going to buy a convertible lol. You did an amazing job on this Hub. Great information that is so needed to many people.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 22, 2012:

Your advice is sensible and easy to follow. And apparently, lightning often strikes in the same place, if the conditions that produced it remain constant. Voting this Up and Interesting. Thanks for SHARING.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on January 13, 2012:

Hi MT,

Glad you liked this bit of fun hub with a serious message. We were so shocked :) when we saw the pictures.

Never thought I would be sharing them with the world but then hubpages came along!

They are freaky pictures hey?

Thanks for dropping in.

Shasta Matova from USA on January 13, 2012:

I am glad you made it safely. That would be an exciting sight, once you were safe. Thanks for the lightening facts.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on December 09, 2011:

Hi Lynn of course, Florida is hectic. I have been there in winter, it is fierce-some.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 09, 2011:

No. Busy with the day job.

Lynn S. Murphy on December 09, 2011:

i live in florida - we get a lot of lightening going on among other things. Lightening is amazing and scary,

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on December 09, 2011:

Hi rebeccamealey,

The real shocker for us was watching the tape back in slo mo and seeing those red streamers/leaders coming off of us.

The maths are shocking too lol.

What happened to you? 'too close for comfort'?

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 09, 2011:

I too have been too close for comfort many times, good point.Great math work there!

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on December 06, 2011:

Hello Lynn,

Do you live in Valparaiso?

Lightning is really astonishing isn't it?

Lynn S. Murphy on December 06, 2011:

Interesting facts. I happen to live in the lightening capital of the world and we take it very seriously.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on December 03, 2011:

Hello Whidbeywriter,

Isn't that in the area known a tornado alley?

I know there is a place in the US Midwest that always has freaky weather.

We often see houses blown away on the news. I wonder why they don't build concrete houses in those regions?

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on November 24, 2011:

Hello Ms W,

The stats are impressive hey, Mother Nature is truly awesome.

Mary Gaines from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington on November 24, 2011:

Wow, this was really interesting. I remember lightning storms in south Texas as a kid, thank goodness we hardly see any here in the Pac. Northwest. Thanks for sharing all this great info.....:)

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on November 11, 2011:

Hi Sharyn,

There is nothing better than to watch nature do it's thing. I do love a good storm and even better to do it safely in my car lol

thanks for the read and comments.

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on November 11, 2011:

Hi Molometer,

I love watching lightning storms yet I realize it can be very dangerous. Mother Nature can be awesome and scary too. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Sharyn

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 19, 2011:

Thanks MM for the compliments, much appreciated. He is amazing.

Well I survived the bolts of lightning that's about all I can say. I don't know how. Dumb luck I guess:)

Glad I'm still here to share it with you guys.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on October 19, 2011:

Hi molometer, congratulations on the birth of your grandson!

A little close for comfort, impressive video and I am looking forward to seeing the other clip.

A fascinating read on lightening too!

Best wishes MM

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 18, 2011:

hi there phdast7, As long as it's not a convertible:)

We were just enjoying the storm when Neil turned around and said "you know, lightning is pretty dangerous" and crack off it went.

We jumped but it wasn't until we played the video that we saw how much danger we had indeed been in. Amazing stuff.

Thanks for coming over.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on October 18, 2011:

Fascinating information about lightning. Scary event for you and your friend. I like knowing that I am relatively safe in a car during a lightning storm. Hard not to jump when the loud pops and cracks come, though.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 18, 2011:

Thanks Hubertsvoice I think that is sound advice.

Hubertsvoice on October 18, 2011:

You're lucky that didn't fry you. You better stay in the house during lightning storms.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 18, 2011:

Hi Dingpo, looks like I completely misread that part of your comment, sorry Dingpo.

But how strange. No noise.

Did it do any permanent damage to the boat?

The jolt must have been quite terrifying for you all?

Hope you like the pictures I have added. There is so much going on in that split second hey?

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 18, 2011:

Hi Dingpo what a weird experience.

As you probable know lightning does travel hundreds of miles in the clouds. Possible the thunderclap was miles away but the lightning struck your vehicle. Or maybe the noise you did hear may have been from another strike?

Interesting point you make about the time standing still.

I seem to remember something this concept.

You know time does appear to change under certain circumstances.

Adrenalin making the brain process data faster can make things seem to slow down even stop temporarily.

I'm sure there is a theory out there somewhere; if not I think we just came up with new theory.

When I slow down this video you will see that the strike has several distinct stages to it. And the strike is the not the past part either.

Thanks for the visit.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 18, 2011:

Hi thranax.

we were watching this storm for over an hour and it seems those red leaders were constantly making their way from us towards the sky the whole time.

Very dangerous but who knew? We certainly didn't. Just goes to show we know so little about these phenomenon.

Thanks for dropping in.

Dingpo on October 18, 2011:

My family and i were struck whilst traveling home from holiday in our caravanett many years ago the rain was deluging at the time, the motor bounced from one side of the road to the other, my impression was everything stood still for a split second never felt any discomfort or heard a bang, found mark on cannoe straped to the roof rack

Andrew from Rep Boston MA on October 17, 2011:

Wow that would freak me out to! That was awfully close it seemed. Good thing it didn't hit you! Great article.

~thranax~