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Where Lightning Strikes

Lightning likes Florida, the Himalayas and central Africa. It hates the oceans, Pacific Islands and the poles because low-lying air rarely heats up enough to generate thunderstorms, and the air masses there are consistant in temperature so rarely generate fronts and clashes.

NASA researchers put the data together by using two weather satellites equipped with special near-infrared detectors that spotted lightning hits even in the daytime.

"For the first time, we've been able to map the global distribution of lightning," said Hugh Christian, a lightning scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "These optical sensors use high-speed cameras to look for changes in the tops of clouds, changes your eyes can't see."

Florida experiences a particularly high number of strikes because westward breezes from the Atlantic Ocean and eastward gusts from the Gulf of Mexico create frequent thunderstorms. More people get killled by lightning in Florida per year than in any other state - about 10 a year. The satellite data suggest some seasonal patterns in the sky bolts, simply meaning the storms are seasonal, too. In the Northern Hemisphere, strikes tend to take place in the summer. Around the equator, most appear in the spring and autumn.

A bit of trivia for you (I'm a hopeless trivia addict) -
The type of tree most often hit by lightning: Oaks.
Rule of Thumb: if you saw the lightning bolt, it didn't hit you :)
A lightning blot travels both up from the ground and down from the clouds.
If you're caught outside in a bad storm with a lot of lightning, lay flat on the ground - not under a tree, NOT UNDER AN OAK (hahahahaha).
Cars aren't the most perfect place but they will deflect the blot down through the body, tires and into the ground - as long as you're not touching anything metal like the steering wheel or side of the door. But then what am I thinking - they don't make cars out of much metal these days anyway ...

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