Name: John Rheineck
What warning signs are there before lightning is close to
striking a person?
What are the typical effects of a lightning strike on a person if he or
Lightning most times gives no warning before striking, or, if there is any
indication, it is just a second or two before the discharge takes place.
But sometimes there is a few seconds warning. The most noticable effect is a
buildup of positive charge in your body, and your hair may stand on end.
Even in some cases small sparking discharges from the fingers has been
noted. If a person starts feeling these simptoms, they should fall to the
ground immediately, to try to place themselves lower than any other object
in the vicinity. Lightning usually follows the discharge path of least
resistance, which usually is the highest point in the area.
The most noted effects of lightning strikes on people is skin or internal
organs burns. The heartbeat rhythm can be interrupted by the electricity
flowing through the body. Clothes can be ripped off the person, and shoes
can literally be blown off the feet.
Thunderstorms always contain lightning, and precautions should be taken near
thunderstorms. Lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes do.
Wendell Bechtold, Meteorologist
Weather Forecast Office
St. Louis, MO
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Update: June 2012