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Dr. Christopher S. Baird

Why can't lightning strike the same place twice?

Category: Earth Science      Published: December 15, 2012

By: Christopher S. Baird, author of The Top 50 Science Questions with Surprising Answers and Associate Professor of Physics at West Texas A&M University

Lightning can strike the same place twice and often does. Public Domain Image, source: NOAA.

Lightning does strike the same place twice. Lighting tends to strike the highest and pointiest object, because it is an electrical current being attracted to the easiest path. If your church steeple is on a hill, it is going to be struck many times. The Empire State Building in New York City gets struck by lightning 100 times a year according to the National Weather Service. One spot on the Catatumbo River in Venezuela receives thousands of lightning strikes a night (many of them cloud to cloud) as researched by Nelson Falcon of the University of Carabobo.

Topics: electricity, electromagnetism, lightning, lightning risk areas, lightning strike, weather