JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- While it only lasts a blink of an eye, lightning is easily the most dangerous weather phenomena out there. Across the First Coast, we've seen several people and structures hit by lightning within the past week.
Florida is no stranger to thunderstorms, especially in the summer, where there tends to be one almost every day. The state of Florida sees more days in a year with a thunderstorm than any other state in the country. It can be attributed to it's proximity to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, on top of the moist, hot air.
On average, there's over one million flashes of lightning per year in Florida, and since 2006, there's been over 50 fatalities from lightning. So what makes it so deadly?
Long story short, lightning is essentially an electrical explosion in the sky. The millions of air molecules that are moving up and down in a thunderstorm rub against each other. As a result of the friction, they begin to separate. During this separation, positively charged molecules migrate to the top of the cloud and negatively charged molecules sink to the bottom.
When this separation in molecules gets big enough, CRACK, you've got lightning. This release of energy is so large that a single bolt of lightning is over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about five times the temperatures of the surface of the sun!
When all the numbers are placed next to each other, lightning has proven to be more deadly than any hurricane or tornado.
The safest place to be in a thunderstorm is inside a secure structure, but even then, that structure or home can even be struck by lightning. So simply put, when you hear thunder, just head inside.