Did you know Florida is the lightning capital of the United States?
Here are some other facts about the electrifying flash of light:
- Contrary to the common expression, lightning can and often does strike the same place twice.
- Lightning is extremely hot—a flash can heat the air around it to temperatures five times hotter than the sun's surface.
- About 2,000 people are killed worldwide by lightning each year, but nine of every 10 people survive.
- The average American has about a 1 in 5,000 chance of being struck by lightning during a lifetime.
- Cloud-to-ground lightning bolts are a common phenomenon—about 100 strike Earth's surface every single second. Each bolt can contain up to 1 billion volts of electricity.
- Cars are havens from lightning. Tires conduct current, as do metal frames that carry a charge harmlessly to the ground.
- Many houses are grounded by rods and other protection that conduct a lightning bolt's electricity harmlessly to the ground.
- Grounded buildings offer protection, but occupants who touch running water or use a landline phone may be shocked by conducted electricity.
- Lightning strikes during thunderstorms kill more Americans each year than either tornadoes or hurricanes.
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