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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Things What Done Fell From the Sky - A Bolt from the Blue

One June 21st, 2007, David Canales was working outside. It was a clear day, without a cloud in sight. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning sheared the sky, bounced off a tree, and struck him! He was announced dead at the hospital.

This phenomena is known as "dry lightning," or - more appropriately - "bolt from the blue." Apparently, such lightning precedes a thunderstorm still miles away. Dry lightning is hotter and lasts longer than the typical variety which generally forms at the base of a thunderhead. Further, it carries a positive charge (as opposed to negative) and as much as 10x the current! Dry lightning carries horizontally and curves to hit the ground, reaching much farther than normal bolts.

Experts note this type of lightning is unpredictable and the only precaution to be taken is to go inside whenever you hear thunder; if you can hear thunder, there is a chance of being struck by lightning.

This was far from Florida's first "bolt from the blue fatality." In fact, a Norwegian couple was killed by the same phenomena in 1988 while standing on a beach beneath a cloudless sky.
Florida is known as the US' "lightning capital."

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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