Lightning Strikes Map

on Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lightning strikes are not evenly distributed. Some parts of the world have little or no lightning, central Africa has the most -- 200 strikes per sq km per year.

For an American, the chance of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 576,000 and the chance of actually being killed by lightning is approximately 1 in 2,320,000. This is misleading -- living in Florida is much more lightning risky than San Francisco.

How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate: Scientists have studied root causes ranging from atmospheric perturbations (wind, humidity, friction, and atmospheric pressure) to the impact of solar wind and accumulation of charged solar particles.

The Empire State Building is struck by lightning on average 23 times each year.

Roy Sullivan held a Guinness World Record after surviving 7 different lightning strikes across 35 years, surviving all of them. He eventually killed himself at 71 yrs old. The seven lightning strikes:

1. 1942: Sullivan was hit for the first time when he was in a fire lookout tower. The lightning bolt struck him in the leg and he lost a nail on his big toe.
2. 1969: The second bolt hit him in his truck when he was driving on a mountain road. It knocked him unconscious and burned his eyebrows.
3. 1970: The third strike burned his left shoulder while in his front yard.
4. 1972: The next hit happened in a ranger station. The strike set his hair on fire. After that, he began to carry a pitcher of water with him.
5. August 7, 1973: A lightning bolt hit Sullivan on the head, blasted him out of his car, and again set his hair on fire.
6. June 5, 1976: Sullivan was struck by the sixth bolt in a campground, injuring his ankle. It was reported that he saw a cloud, thought that it was following him, tried to run away, but was still struck.
7. June 25, 1977: The seventh and final lightning bolt hit him when he was fishing. Sullivan was hospitalized for burns on his chest and stomach.