Lightning Follows the Path of Least Resistance (Don't let that be you!)

Jun 27, 2014

True or False - If taller things are around you, you're safe from getting hit by lightning.

True or False - You should determine whether it is safe to be outside based on the amount of seconds between lightning and thunder.

True or False - You can develop tree looking "tattoos" if you survive a lightning strike.

Listen to this "news buzz" segment of River to River, to find out what we do and do not know about the science of lightning and how to remain safe during this time of year (June and July are associated with the most deaths from lightning strikes.)

True/False answers: F, F, T

  1. False - Lightning follows the path of least resistance, but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't hit shorter objects, since it doesn't move in a straight line.
  2. False - Experts recommend that you should head inside as soon as you hear thunder nearby, or as soon as you see lightning, regardless of how much time has passed between the two.
  3. True - People who have survived lightning strikes sometimes develop what is called "Lichtenberg figures" on their skin. These scars are left by electric discharges.

Lichtenburg figures have been reported on people's skin after they survive a lightning strike.