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Preparing 4 Monsoon: Dangers of Lightning

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Greg McCown Lightning

TUCSON (KVOA) - It's the first week of Monsoon 2021 and Thursday night, the News 4 Tucson 4Warn weather team talked about the dangers of lightning and how you can stay safe.

First, let's talk about how lightning forms. As a thunderstorm develops, there are millions of collisions between liquid, ice and hail, which creates an electrical charge. The positive charges move to the top of the thunderstorm and the negative charges move to the bottom of the thunderstorm.

Positive charges also rise from the earth as the thunderstorm goes through its lifecycle.

Lightning's purpose is to maintain the Earth's electrical balance and it likes to do it fast. The stepped leader drops from the cloud, trying to find the quickest way to reach the upward streamer, which rises from the ground. As soon as the two meet, they complete the circuit and create the lightning strike.

Now that we know how lightning forms, here are some facts.

Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun and can get as hot as 50,000 degrees. The width of a bolt of lightning is no bigger than the size of your pinky finger! Also, after a flash of lightning, count until you hear the thunder. Five seconds is usually one mile.

Always check the forecast and if there is a chance for thunderstorms, plan accordingly and know where your safe spot is. Remember, no place outside is safe from lightning.

It's also important to stay in your safe spot for at least 30 minutes after you heard thunder. When thunder roars, go indoors.

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