Electric storm


The thunderstorms are common natural phenomena, many of them develop in the same space of time, in different places of the earth. Although they attract the eyes of many, due to the light and sound show, they represent one of the main causes of death in the world.


What is a thunderstorm?

The electrical storm is a meteorological phenomenon, which is derived from the state of the atmosphere: air pressure, temperature and humidity in a certain area. It is characterized by a natural spectacle of lights and sounds: lightning, lightning and thunder, produced by the discharge of static electricity accumulated in the clouds. The storms are accompanied -on occasions- by abundant rains, hail and strong winds.

  • How does a thunderstorm form?
  • features
  • Types
  • How long does a thunderstorm last?
  • What to do in the event of a thunderstorm?
  • How to calculate the distance of a thunderstorm?
  • Effects of a thunderstorm

How does a thunderstorm form?

It is produced from the collision between a wave of humidity, rapidly rising hot air and the cold air contained in the heights ; conditions mostly created on hot and cold fronts, mountainous and coastal areas. In the latter, the sea breezes are samples of the warming and cooling that the land and water masses experience.


Every storm is born, develops or matures, then dissipates. thunderstorm originates when hot and humid air rises, making spiral movements, as if they were using a spiral staircase. At the top they meet the cold air and a cloud called cumulonimbus forms, which is the cell or center of the storm.

It develops or matures when the cloud grows vertically reaching dimensions of up to 18 kilometers in height. Inside it, ascending and descending winds generate turbulence and cause the densest and heaviest particles to fall. Lightning production is derived from this discharge.

When the cloud widens, horizontally, at its highest point, cold air prevails over hot air, the force decreases and with it precipitation. The Earth’s crust cools down as cool air descends and extensive cirrus clouds add shadows that improve the temperature. The storm disappears.


  • The formation of positive and negative charges in the cloud produces an electrical discharge that manifests itself in the form of lightning or flash of light, it occurs within a cloud or between them. If the transmission of electromagnetic pulses is very strong, the lightning bolts turn into rays that are directed to the earth. The rapid movement of the lightning and its eruption in the air – sometimes cold and sometimes hot – generate a roar, called thunder.
  • Lightning – characteristic of the storm – transmit an instantaneous force of up to a million watts.
  • Storms travel at high speeds, aided by the force of the wind , until they dissipate or are deflected by variations in the atmosphere . They can also undertake spinning movements, form cells, supercells, and become supercell or complex storms.
  • It produces intense rainfall and winds , as well as variations in surface pressure and temperature.


Electrical storms have been classified by their composition: unicellular, multicellular, supercellular.

Those that obey an elemental cell or cloud are also known as normal or ordinary storms , they are the most common , they fulfill the simple cycle: they are born, mature and dissipate. They are accompanied by intense rains and in very dry environments, they are constituted as a dry storm, in which only some events are perceived.

The multi supercell storms and enter the classification of storms complex . The multicellular , characterized by the presence of heavy rain and flooding sudden, lightning and thunder , are formed from consecutive cells or clouds in different stages of development.

The supercellular – a single cell – is created when there are sudden changes in the direction of the wind that interfere with the rapid rise of the air stream. The storm turns and the wind moves with excessive speed inside it, releases the hail , lifts everything in its path and can become a tornado .

How long does a thunderstorm last?

Depending on their composition , single-celled thunderstorms can last between 30 minutes and 1 hour , while multi-celled or complex thunderstorms can last much longer.

What to do in the event of a thunderstorm?

The electrical storm is a natural phenomenon and although certain conditions favor it, it has a wide range. It can be detected by professional teams, or simply manifested by thunder. The ideal is to know what to do before, during and after the storm to reduce its impact.


  • Install lightning rods in towers and antennas , its function is to attract the lightning and conduct the electric discharge to the ground.
  • Verify the correct operation of the outlets and ensure a physical ground throughout the electrical system.
  • Prune trees near the home in time, lightning can split a tree trunk in two, cut a branch or cause fires.
  • Secure outdoor objects . Strong winds tend to blow them away and already in the air they can cause serious damage.
  • Prepare a first aid kit and place it in a conspicuous place.
  • Make an emergency plan. Each member of the family should know their surroundings, which areas are safe to shelter in the event of a thunderstorm, what they should or should not do while it lasts, and where the first aid kit is located to attend to possible emergencies.


  • Moving away from trees, antennas, the top of a mountain, and other tall, pointy structures, they stick out of the ground and attract lightning.
  • Get rid of metal objects: clothes, tools, equipment, canes and umbrellas, metal is a conductor of electricity.
  • Stay away from electrical wiring, telephone lines, metallic structures such as billboards, railroad tracks and heavy machinery, the contact of the lightning with these generates a shock wave, harmful to the health of those nearby.
  • Do not seek shelter in flood-prone areas.
  • Discard as much as possible the permanence in the open, in solitary places, camping tents or small huts. The phenomenon points to that which stands out in nothing.
  • Find a safe place to stay, a building or a vehicle with the engine off is advisable. Doors and windows facing the outside should be closed to avoid drafts. Separate yourself from windows and glass walls. In the case of choosing the vehicle, avoid any contact with metals inside it.
  • Disconnect electronic equipment , television and cable antennas.
  • Do not bathe , shower or stay in contact with water. Showers, bathtubs and dishwashers have metal accessories, and water is a conductor of electricity par excellence.
  • Do not use cell phones and any other equipment that emits electromagnetic radiation, attracts rays.


  • Check the status of family members and other close people. In the event of injuries, first aid should be applied and immediate medical assistance requested. The heart of some people struck by lightning stops, so it is necessary to give them cardiopulmonary respiration (CPR), while specialized personnel arrive.
  • Do not return to daily activities until 30 minutes have passed since the last thunderclap. This includes not driving, if not necessary, the roads may have been affected.
  • Notify the corresponding company of damage to power lines, telephone cables and advertising structures.
  • Attend to the warnings and recommendations of the National Meteorological Center and local authorities.

How to calculate the distance of a thunderstorm?

How do you know if the storm is near? Knowing how far it is is useful to avoid getting under it or being damaged by its effects. It is possible to calculate this data, how many seconds there are between the visualization of the glare and the thunder are counted, and this figure is divided by three. The result is the number of kilometers between the storm and who performs the equation.

The calculation may seem superficial, but it is serious, it is based on the speed at which light (300,000 km / s) and sound (331m / s) travel.

Storms are not always stationary, so it is advisable to repeat the equation every one or two minutes, to test if the distance increases or decreases, if the storm is moving away or getting closer.

Effects of a thunderstorm

An electrical storm can negatively affect living things , to the point of being lethal. Also cause damage to equipment and infrastructure.

In human beings, the direct impact of lightning can cause post-traumatic stress, fractures, burns, loss of the sense of sight due to damage to the retina, or hearing loss due to a ruptured eardrum, both inclusive, brain injuries … to paralysis of breathing and heart, sudden death.

Storms are one of the meteorological phenomena that cause the highest number of deaths in the world.

When the lightning strikes an object, usually metal, it generates an expansive wave that alters the atmospheric pressure , which can cause a person to fall to the ground, muscle contractions, damage to the lungs and bone structure. If it fell on a conductive element, the power of its electromagnetic pulses can affect living beings that are in contact with the object, electricity is discharged in them.

At home or in any other building, lightning can cause the electrical network to overload , damaging those equipment that is connected to the network, generating short circuits, fires and explosions.

Outdoors there is no 100% safe place to linger during a thunderstorm. The severe ones can generate copious rains and flash floods, in which human beings lose their lives, but also animals and plant species. Hail hits the field with force, also vehicles and other objects. Strong winds devastate everything in their path, breaking glass windows, knocking down trees, power lines, weak roofs, mobile structures.

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