Lightning a little closer than one likes.

I was just told of a video at

Go down the page to
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Leg 14 – Hamble River to Brighton via Portsmouth

there is a video named
Leg 14 – Hamble River to Brighton via Portsmouth

At about 4:12 into the video, while he was filming lightning strikes in the near distance, it appears that one struck his boat, perhaps 3 feet in front of the camera. (Warning! This, very understandably, causes him to use strong language.) Turn off the sound if this might upset you.

Actually, although the closest I have been to a strike that I saw was in Costa Rica in 1987 and about 100 to 300 yards away, it seems to me that a strike 3 feet away would be VERY different than shown. There was a severe concussion of air in that Costa Rica strike. Janet & I were standing in the cockpit and were looking in the direction of the strike and were quite impressed. The atmospheric concussion that it caused was a strong physical blow. Even at at least 100 yards distance.

It was daytime and yet the flash was very bright.

I said, “… that I saw.” Because, in Texas in about 1960, I was in my Uncle’s house on the Gulf Coast and one strike had the flash and the boom at exactly the same time. We were indoors and I never learned what it struck, but I think it was much closer than 100 yards. Because of the absolutely no perceptible delay.

With the speed of sound commonly about 1,126 ft/s, there must have been something like 0.25 to 0.75 seconds delay in Costa Rica, but our senses were so overloaded that I was not counting. I sort of recall some small delay, but after so many years, I am not sure.

In any case, it is an interesting video. There are often small side strikes and I suspect that is what happened. He is very lucky to be alive.



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