Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't mess with lightning

I came across a blog -- several, actually -- showing the video taken during a rainstorm (why?) when the woman behind the camera suffered a zap of lightning. She survived.

Disclaimer: I don't know if this is legit. I have doubts. One might think the card in the camera would have been fried. Or that the cinematographer would have dropped the camera. But then again I don't know how this could be faked.

In any case, the blog quoted the victim thusly:
From what i understand, it went through my left hand holding the camera, crossed my back and exited out of my right hand holding onto the metal railing. No entry or exit wounds, just a really good zap!

This reminds me of my soccer officiating days. Officials are trained on the facts of lightning -- that if you can see lightning anywhere, it is already too close and you need to stop the game immediately.

Nonetheless, officials received all sorts of grief for respecting the unpredictable and surprising nature of lightning. Parents, coaches and players protesting the stoppage. "The flashes are way over there," some complain. Never mind that lightning may strike 10 or more miles from where it is first observed -- even in otherwise sunny conditions. I even had a high school varsity coach -- a man I know to be knowledgeable and respected in his profession -- argue that the lightning was not yet overhead (as if lightning only travels in a perfectly vertical manner).

Photo: Lightning behind the Dubuque County Courthouse.
Photo by Jeremy Portje, Telegraph Herald.

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