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Weather Library > Frequently Asked Questions About Lightning

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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This Frequently Asked Questions About Lightning article has been part of this site for over 20 years. The FAQ is compiled from the most commmon questions I've received over the years via email and in person.

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Why is lightning jagged and 'zig-zagged' in shape?
What happens when lightning strikes a house?
Does lightning travel upwards or downwards?
Does lightning ever strike the in same place twice?
Could lightning be used as an energy source?
Sometimes I've seen a bright blue-green glow coming from the ground right after a lightning strike. What causes this?
I'm an avid outdoorsperson (hiking, mountain biking, etc) and inevitably am caught out in thunderstorms from time to time. What can I do to reduce the risk of getting hit by lightning?
Why do some lightning bolts have loops and knots in them?
Does lightning ever hit water?
Did I really get video of an extremely close lightning strike?
Can lightning occur in the winter or when it is snowing?
Can a lightning bolt 'split' and strike in more than one place on the ground?
If metal doesn't attract lightning, then why do laboratory sparks always hit the metallic objects?
What are lightning strike maps? Are there any accessable on the internet? Are there any real-time lightning strike maps available?
Where can I find information about ball lightning? Pictures of ball lightning?
What are the glassy formations resulting from lightning striking sandy soil?
How are rockets used to make lightning?
Why does lightning/static electricity damage electronics? Can other appliances be damaged by lightning?
What color is lightning?

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