Lightning Bolts Strike from the Sky to the Ground
© Depositphotos.com/peresanz

Lightning bolts strike from the sky to the ground.

Don’t Believe That!

Although is goes against all intuitive sense, the flash of lightning that you see when a bolt hits the earth or a building actually originates on the ground.

The first part of a typical lightning strike actually does begin in the clouds, but it is invisible. As a negative charge of ionized air descends from a storm cloud, one or more positively-charged “leaders” initiate from the ground. When the two meet (usually at a height of 300 feet or less), a conducting channel is created, like an electrical wire, and current then flows upward from the ground, illuminating the channel and creating the familiar lightning flash.

Another type of lightning that mostly affects tall structures such as skyscrapers and towers, initiates entirely from the structure itself. It occurs when intense electric fields accumulate at the tip of the structure and discharge upwards.

Bonus Fact: Another lightning myth is that it never strikes the same place twice. False! Lightning tends to take the easiest route and therefore any spot hit by a lightning bolt is actually more likely to get hit again. The Empire State Building, for example, experiences an average of 100 lightning strikes per year!

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