Lightning - Facts and Dangers

The powerful and awe inspiring phenomenon of thunder and lightning has fascinated mankind for years.  In ancient Greece, they believed that Zeus, the father of the gods, had dominion over the sky and his power was often represented by a lightning bold.  In Roman mythology, this power was attributed to Jupiter.  Continental Germanic tribes gave the power of lightning to Donar, whom the Northern Germans knew by the more familiar name of Thor.

During the development of the myths surrounding these gods, as well as for years to follow, humans felt they were at the mercy of thunderstorms, a result of supernatural powers. Starting in the Age of Enlightenment, though, heavenly spectacles including thunderstorms were scientifically investigated.  In 1752, Benjamin Franklin performed experiments, concluding the phenomenon of lightning was an electrical charge.

Meteorological estimations approximate 9 billion lightning flashes occur around the world every day, most of them in the tropics.  Still, the number of reported damages as the result of direct and indirect lightning strikes continues to rise, as more technology is introduced to the world.