South America witnessed extreme lightning strikes in 2018, 2019: WMO

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News: The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has released its findings on lightning strikes which had happened around the world.

Facts:

Key Takeaways:

  • Brazil recorded the longest lightning strike that travelled a distance of 709 kilometres in 2018.
  • Argentina recorded a lightning strike that lasted continuously for 16.73 seconds in 2019.
  • India: Uttar Pradesh recorded the maximum number of deaths due to lightning in India.It was followed by Bihar.

Lightning:

  • Lightning: It is a very rapid and massive discharge of electricity in the atmosphere,some of which is directed towards the Earth.These discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds that are 10-12 km tall.
  • How is it formed?
    • Air generally acts as an insulator between the positive and negative charges in the cloud and between the cloud and the ground.
    • But when the opposite charges build up enough, this insulating capacity of the air breaks down and there is a rapid discharge of electricity that we know as lightning.
  • Effects of Lightning: 
    • Direct strike: Victims may sustain a direct strike, which is often fatal.
    • Contact injury: This occurs when lightning strikes an object, such as a car or metal pole that the victim is touching.
    • Ground current: This occurs when lightning strikes the ground near a victim and the ground current passes from the strike point through the ground and into the victim among others.