Saturday, 6 September 2014

Science Saturday - Lightning Every Day

As a matter of fact ...

There is currently a HUGE lightning storm in Toronto, Canada! My girlfriend and I are hiding away and watching the news warnings. I have never seen anything like this back in England! It got me thinking, why? Why do same places have more lightning strikes and where has the most in the world?

Welcome to Tororo. Country? Uganda. Population? 43,700. Average lightning strikes a year? 251. Yes that's right. That's 70% of the year.

So what did this town do to deserve the wrath of Zeus? Well, apparently it's all in the soil. There is a large amount of iron in the ground. As with most metals, iron attracts lightning. 

When a lightning storm takes place, most of the strikes occur between clouds. It's only when a bolt hits the ground that things turn lethal. In a place like Tororo, the iron rich ground attracts more strikes than pretty much anywhere in the world!

This has always been bad news for the people of that town, with 10% of the strikes resulting in death and an additional 70% leading to permanent injuries. In most places, natural minerals in the ground are a blessing but this iron appears to be more of a curse!

The storm outside is still pretty bad as I write this but I feel better in the knowledge that it could always be much worse! 

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