Lightning strikes a plane coming into land at Heathrow Airport on 27 April 2016.
© REX/Shutterstock
Lightning strikes a plane coming into land at Heathrow Airport on 27 April 2016.
A rumble of thunder is always a cue to unplug computers in our district. Everyone remembers when the local power lines got struck by lightning a decade ago and wiped out the innards of most computers, even some that were switched off but still plugged into the mains. New computers are supposed to be fitted with anti-surge devices but anyone ever seriously inconvenienced by a lightning strike is unlikely to take the risk again.

Last week's daily thundery showers meant being unplugged a great deal of the time, which is not a problem with modern computer batteries, but which led to discussions about how often the UK gets this number of thunderstorms. It turns out that by the weekend most of the country had already exceeded the average for a whole year.

According to the Tornado and Storm Research Association the south and east of England get more thunder than the north and west. London is in the 15-to-19-days-a-year belt, while Cornwall, Wales and Scotland have five to nine days a year when thunder is heard. Most of these storm days occur in summer - June, July and August.

The worst year on record for storms was 2006, when our local computers were wiped out, and nearly 400 lightning strikes were reported nationally that damaged people, animals and property, or blacked out electricity supplies. In 2010 there were less than 50 such strikes, so annual variations are enormous.