Lightning: terrible misfortune

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Oldjohnw
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Location: Northumberland

Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Oldjohnw » 9 Jun 2019, 9:37am

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/09/woman-dies-after-being-struck-by-lightning-in-scottish-highlands?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

What a terrible thing. Was the weather pattern known? Was it avoidable? We will find out in due course. No doubt there will be lessons for us all. Meanwhile, much sympathy for the lady's friends and family.
John

Cycling and recycling

Bonefishblues
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Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Bonefishblues » 9 Jun 2019, 9:44am

It's the one thing that clears us off our fishing. We never take chances when there's thunder about :?

That said, it can come completely out of the blue.

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feefee8
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Location: Fort William

Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby feefee8 » 9 Jun 2019, 9:45am

I live in the area and was cycling home when I got caught in one of the thunderstorms. There was certainly rain forecast but torrential rain is fairly common here. One of my friends does a lot of hillwalking and she was out yesterday - very experienced and she said she hadn’t seen anything that bad in the forecast for the hills.

Many sympathies to the woman’s family and friends - must have been pretty awful for the rest of the party as well.

Mike Sales
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Mike Sales » 9 Jun 2019, 9:58am

feefee8 wrote:I live in the area and was cycling home when I got caught in one of the thunderstorms. There was certainly rain forecast but torrential rain is fairly common here. One of my friends does a lot of hillwalking and she was out yesterday - very experienced and she said she hadn’t seen anything that bad in the forecast for the hills.

Many sympathies to the woman’s family and friends - must have been pretty awful for the rest of the party as well.


I was once a pearl diver* in the King's House Hotel on the edge of Rannoch Moor, below Buchaille Etive Mor.
One day there was a thunderstorm with torrential rain and lightning strikes on the moor all around. The river rose from a trickle to brimming in hours. It was a tremendous spectacle, exhilarating.

* Kitchen Porter, washer up.

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feefee8
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Location: Fort William

Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby feefee8 » 9 Jun 2019, 10:09am

Did you ever find any pearls?!

We’re on the banks of Loch Eil at sea level - changes in the blink of an eye even here. Wasn’t expecting the hailstones at all yesterday.

reohn2
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby reohn2 » 9 Jun 2019, 10:45am

For those who know the area,on Thursday after carefully checking the forecast said no rain over the moors,I decided on an MTB ride from Rivington village.
The ride took me up to the Dove tower and down into into Belmont village,where I spotted the flaw in the forecast(a huge black cloud heading my way from the west),I decided to keep heading east toward Edgerton and over Turton golf club,swinging north on the Witton Weavers way to Entwhistle,stopping off at the Strawberry Duck for a sandwich then heading west to Cadshaw crossing the A666 and over Tuton Moor,heading for The Jubilee tower on top of the moor.
I was was doing well skirting around the huge black cloud and rolling thunder just to the to the south.
At this point I felt that chilly wind that says I'm coming your way :? .
The rain came so quick I'd barely time to get my waterproof on and it was overhead,and the thunder with it.
The high point of an exposed moor is not the place to to be in a thunderstorm on a steel bicycle :shock: and boy was it raining,I was soaked within a minute of it starting.
At this point I should say that one of my granddaughters was once struck by lightening,thankfully she only suffer very slight burns but was knocked unconscious but recovered fully within a few days.This was to the forefront of my mind as I hastily descended the 1km rough track down,which was now 7cm deep in water running off the moore,to Sunnyhurst and what seemed to be safety.
I continued my ride in pouring rain to Tockholes,Roddlesworh wood.Abbey Village,Briscall,Whit Coppice,The Nab and back to Rivington for the drive home.32 hard hilly enjoyable miles with the last hour and a half soaked through :D
You never know do you?
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thirdcrank
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Jun 2019, 10:54am

I presume that being struck by lightning is one of those freak events which could happen almost anywhere out in the open. This sad accident hasn't been comparable with people who risk their own lives and others' by going on foolhardy escapades in treacherous snow conditions etc. I hope we don't get a Michael Fish effect of weather forecasters trying to predict every thunderbolt and getting over-cautious when they cannot. And I hope nobody stays at home just because there's the possibility of a thunderstorm.

Bonefishblues
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Bonefishblues » 9 Jun 2019, 11:14am


Brucey
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Brucey » 9 Jun 2019, 12:01pm

Deaths occur nearly every year in the UK (about half a dozen or so is typical) but in the US there are enough deaths through lightning strikes to compile interesting statistics

https://io9.gizmodo.com/new-statistics-on-lightning-deaths-in-the-u-s-reveal-w-560760736

fishing is responsible for most deaths. Simply being male makes it over four times more likely that you'll be killed by lightning, it seems. Deaths whilst golfing have decreased substantially in recent years; most courses have a siren to alert golfers to lightning in the vicinity and competition play may be suspended at any time if it is thought that there is a risk of lightning.

World-wide deaths through lightning are falling and have been since statistics have been compiled.

https://www.vaisala.com/sites/default/files/documents/Annual_rates_of_lightning_fatalities_by_country.pdf

Being in an unban setting greatly reduces your chances of being struck. The safest place to be in a lightning storm is inside a metal box; a car is a metal box (but might not be in a few years time if composites are used instead) and you are perfectly safe inside a normal car.

Its not mentioned in the published research on lightning I have seen, but there is a school of thought that 'the increase in stormy weather' (that some folk attribute to global warming etc) is in fact a return to more normal weather conditions. The argument is that industrial pollution -prevalent through the 19th and 20th centuries- amongst other things allowed easier nucleation of raindrops and thus easier precipitation of rain. The proportion of the most violent convective events was thus somewhat diminished. Now we are starting to have cleaner air, clouds (and other weather systems) are likely to get bigger and more violent before they are likely to rain themselves out.

The huge updraught in the middle of clouds is driven by heat, and that energy usually comes from the latent heat released when water turns from vapour to liquid (condenses). The amounts of energy within clouds are truly prodigious; and the convection (mainly of ice crystals) is what causes static charge to build up in most cases and thus lightning to occur. Any cloud that is capable of releasing a heavy shower is potentially capable of causing lightning too. However not everything about lightning is known and understood; there is some evidence that one in a hundred (or so) strikes are 'positive ground strikes' i.e. the reverse of the usual polarity, and that these can come from an apparently clear skies and furthermore may be ~x10 more powerful than most other lightning strikes.

I've been in a plane that was struck by lightning, about 3000 ft up, on final approach to land, over a major city. I happened to be looking out over the wing that was struck and I can only liken the effect to what I'd imagine it'd be like to be inside a dustbin with someone beating the wotsits out of it with a big stick. Fortunately the plane's computers weren't damaged and it carried on flying normally. I am told that lightning strikes on (through) aircraft are not uncommon.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mike Sales
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby Mike Sales » 9 Jun 2019, 12:12pm

One would think being hit by lightning quite unlikely. How about being hit eleven times?

http://listverse.com/2018/06/02/10-people-who-have-been-struck-by-lightning-multiple-times/

reohn2
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby reohn2 » 9 Jun 2019, 12:34pm

Mike Sales wrote:One would think being hit by lightning quite unlikely. How about being hit eleven times?

http://listverse.com/2018/06/02/10-people-who-have-been-struck-by-lightning-multiple-times/

It seems to point to one of two reasons,either those people are incredibly stupid or they conduct electricity extremely well and much better than other people do.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Jun 2019, 12:56pm

Deaths occur nearly every year in the UK (about half a dozen or so is typical) ....


Terrible for all those involved, and I can imagine that as well as those deaths there will be some severe injuries. Having said that and based only on my personal guess, I fancy there are more fatalities in traffic crashes within a couple of miles radius of my house, even though by far the greater part of that area is greenbelt fields and woodland.

There's no point in being foolhardy but there are worse risks to worry about. Another of my dear old dad's sayings was along the lines "If you stay at home, be careful the ceiling doesn't fall on you and if you stay in bed, watch out for breadcrumbs." He was a heavy smoker, and setting the bedclothes alight is surely a bigger risk.

And you can worry yourself to death.

peetee
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby peetee » 9 Jun 2019, 1:17pm

I have been very close to lightning on more than one occasion. When I was at school I watched a storm from a classroom as it tracked across the outfield then a bolt struck the drain cover in the centre of the playground about 40 ft in front of me. The noise was instant and massive and from that point I really looked forward to experiencing the next storm from a ' ring-side seat' as it were.
About 20 years later that desire was somewhat tempered when I was on holiday on a Greek island and rode off up a mountain with a cycling party. The weather was overcast and got progressively worse to the point that the group started to fragment and, realising a thunderstorm was overhead and we were on a bare hillside with no group leader in sight I took shelter in a ditch. I was half scared of being vaporised and half angry that the guide didn't maintain the group. Taking the first opportunity I turned around and pedalled as fast as I could back to the road and then the hotel. Cooling off in my apartment I suddenly realised that I had travelled 3-4 miles along a (fortunately deserted) road on the left, not the right so it might not have been the lightning that killed me after all!
Current status report:
Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

thirdcrank
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Jun 2019, 1:57pm

With my canteen humorist's hat on (shuold that be helmet?) I can't help musing that wearing wellies tends to be associated with taking an unnatural interest in sheep. Some of the wikihow stuff seems reminiscent of the precautions to survive a nuclear attack, especially the lightning crouch.

Nuclear attck.jpg
In case of nuclear attack
Nuclear attck.jpg (10.09 KiB) Viewed 577 times


This ghost bike is just down the road. Leeds City Council seems not to clear roadside memorials to crash victims and this one has been there long enough to be on streetview.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.76446 ... 384!8i8192

ChrisButch
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Re: Lightning: terrible misfortune

Postby ChrisButch » 9 Jun 2019, 9:14pm

I was hillwalking in the Western Highlands yesterday, not too far from the Mamores where this happened. The change in conditions was very sudden. After a week of slack low pressure with light, mostly northeasterly or northwesterly winds, there was a sudden change to warmer, more humid air. The convective conditions set off some intense but very localised slow-moving heavy showers, with nearby areas often dry. We were caught in one of these just as we were coming down off the hill (a wee Graham between the two Loch Brooms). Sudden torrential rain, but fortunately no thunder. The Met Office specialist mountain weather forecast page for the Northwestern Highlands yesterday did say that there was a slight risk of thunderstorms in the afternoon, but the Mountain Weather Information Service didn't - just forecast scattered heavy showers, not thunder..
The Mamore ridge where the strike happened is narrow, with few easy escape routes off the exposed ridge to safer ground. If you encounter thunder when in the mountains the standard advice is to get off a ridge as soon as possible, and (counterintuitively) to hunker down on an open, regular slope rather than seeking shelter. Easier said than done if you're caught without warning, as this party was.