Storms
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Cloud Lightning

Lightning Injures Nine in Yellowstone National Park

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© AP PhotoA lightning bolt struck as people waited to see the Old Faithful geyser erupt
A lightning bolt has struck nine people waiting to see the Old Faithful geyser erupt at Yellowstone National Park in the US state of Wyoming.

All the visitors were on the boardwalk or walkways around the geyser when the single lightning bolt struck.

One of the nine people hurt was taken to hospital in Idaho for treatment.

Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash told the Associated Press news agency that the 57-year-old man was to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday evening.

It was not clear what injuries he had suffered.

Seven others were treated at Old Faithful Clinic for tingling, numbness and shortness of breath.

Cloud Lightning

UK: Four Walkers Struck by Lightning Within 35 Minutes in Lake District

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© Paul LewisLightning zone: An aerial view of the area where the helicopter was called to
A spate of lighting strikes across the Lake District sparked a dramatic series of mountain rescues by the crew of a Royal Navy helicopter, it emerged today.

Four hill walkers, in three different locations, were airlifted to hospital following an electric storm in the national park yesterday afternoon.

The helicopter, from HMS Gannet at Prestwick, Scotland, had initially been called to a separate incident involving a man with a suspected shoulder injury at Langdale, Cumbria.

But at around 3pm, as reports of lightning emerged, the crew were instead deployed to help a hiker who had been struck at Grasmoor.

Within 35 minutes they had been called out to two other hillside locations - Crag Hill and Whiteless Pike - and rescued three more victims of lightning.

Blackbox

Mysterious ball lightning may be a hallucination

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© Scott Stulberg/CorbisThe fluctuating magnetic fields in lightning strikes may induce hallucinations of glowing orbs called ball lightning
Seen something pale and round floating in the midst of a thunderstorm? If it lasted for a few seconds or less, it might be all in your head. Fluctuating magnetic fields, created by a nearby lightning bolt, could trick the brain into "seeing" round glowing objects, explaining at least some observations of mysterious 'ball lightning'.

The phenomenon is often described as a hovering orb of light - smaller than a beach ball - that lasts for a few seconds or minutes. It is thought to occur when lightning strikes the ground, but its exact cause is not clear.

Now it seems the glowing blobs may be a hallucination. Moving charges, in lightning strikes or in wire coiled around a patient's head, generate magnetic fields. A fluctuating magnetic field induces an electric field that, if powerful enough, can make neurons fire in the visual cortex. Pale ovals, bubbles, lines, or patches are sometimes observed by patients who undergo transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

During a lightning storm, the initial stroke towards Earth is so short that we wouldn't have time to react to it - two to three millionths of a second. After it hits the ground, a return stroke, which carries some of the charge back into the sky with a thunder-causing shockwave, lasts around 0.2 milliseconds - very near the shortest duration of the clinical stimulation.

Saturn

Cassini Captures First Movie of Lightning on Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured images of lightning on Saturn, allowing the scientists to create the first movie showing lightning flashing on another planet. "Ever since the beginning of the Cassini mission, a major goal of the Imaging Team has been the detection of Saturnian lightning," said team leader Carolyn Porco in an email. Porco said the ability to capture the lightning was a direct result of the dimming of the ringshine on the night side of the planet during last year's Saturn equinox. "And these flashes have been shown to be coincident in time with the emission of powerful electrostatic discharges intercepted by the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave experiment," Porco added.
Embedded video from
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

Cloud Lightning

Stormy weather wreaks havoc across Egypt

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© AFPA lightning illuminates the sky over Cairo.
Cairo - Four people were killed and more than 50 hurt as bad weather wreaked havoc across Egypt, pelting the capital with a freak hail storm and smashing a luxury liner into a pier, officials and media said Friday.

In the northern Mediterranean city of Alexandria, waves as high as a two-storey building pounded the coast, media reports said.

Thursday evening's hail storm in Cairo, the first in many years, caused mayhem in the capital, snarling traffic and bringing the sprawling city to a virtual standstill.

Cars crawled on the slippery roads as lightning periodically lit up the drenched streets.

The downpour followed a heat wave and caught many off guard.

Bizarro Earth

Severe Storms hit Southeast Queensland

Severe thunderstorms have swept across Queensland's southeast, with flash-flooding carrying cars down Brisbane roads.

The storms struck at about noon (AEST) today, producing thousands of lightning strikes, strong winds and heavy rain.

Strathpine, Brisbane and Logan are among the hardest hit areas.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said the Brisbane CBD received more than 91mm of rain since 10am (AEST), leaving some of the city's roads under water and bringing traffic to a standstill.

Weatherzone.com.au reported the city received its heaviest 10-minute downpour of rain in at least eight years, receiving 25mm just after 11.40am (AEST).

In the Brisbane westside suburb of Milton, localised flooding carried cars down streets.

One local Milton resident, Tom Goldman, tried to drive his car through the severely flooded Haig Road, only to have the engine stall.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning Strike Grounds Florida-Bound Plane in Alabama

Montgomery - An airport official says a U.S. Airways flight was struck by lightning on its way to Florida, forcing the plane and its passengers to divert to Alabama.

Montgomery Regional Airport spokeswoman Lynn Cox said Saturday that the flight was grounded after 9:30 p.m. Friday in Montgomery, where the passengers had been given overnight accommodations.

Cox says a replacement plane had not arrived Saturday. She says some passengers arranged rental cars to continue on to Pensacola.

Cox says she was not aware of any injuries.

Cox did not know how many passengers were on board or where the flight originated.

Bizarro Earth

A New Kind Of Lightning Discovered

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© Bretwood HigmanLightning in the ash cloud atop Mount Redoubt from the March 28 eruption.
When volcano seismologist Stephen McNutt at the University of Alaska Fairbanks's Geophysical Institute saw strange spikes in the seismic data from the Mount Spurr eruption in 1992, he had no idea that his research was about to take an electrifying turn.

"The seismometers were actually picking up lightning strikes," said McNutt. "I knew that I had to reach out to the physicists studying lightning."

With McNutt's curiosity about volcanic lightning sparked, he teamed up with physicist and electrical engineer Ronald Thomas and Sonja Behnke, a graduate student in atmospheric physics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M. for a unique collaboration in order to learn more about volcanic lighting.

When the Mount Redoubt volcano started making seismic noise in January 2009, McNutt alerted Thomas and Behnke that this would be a great opportunity to capture some new volcanic lightning data. By the time the volcano erupted in March, the team had four Lightning Mapping Arrays set up to monitor the lightning from the eruption.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes two planes near California airport

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© Ethan Miller, Getty Images/file
Burbank - Two Southwest Airlines airplanes have been struck by lighting while landing at Burbank's Bob Hope Airport.

Southwest spokeswoman Marilee McInnis says the flights to Burbank from Sacramento and Oakland landed safely Wednesday morning after being struck while approaching the airport amid heavy rains.

She says a flight attendant reported a pain in her arm and was hospitalized. No other injuries were reported.

The two Boeing 737s were taken out of service and passengers with continuing flights were put on other planes.

McInnis says all aircraft are built to withstand lightning strikes, which can occur during flights through stormy weather.

Cloud Lightning

US: Tornado Warning Issued in Los Angeles

Los Angeles - A storm moving through Central and Southern California has brought high winds, waves and lightning, prompting a tornado warning and pier closures.

Los Angeles County firefighters report minor street and building flooding in some areas of Los Angeles County on Tuesday but there are no reports of major damage or injuries.

Officials shut down piers in Ventura, Seal Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach because of 15-foot waves.