I love xkcd and his other site “what if?” In the northeast at this point in time (February) lightning is not likely at all, but this post on what if about lightning is electric, and felt the need to share it, especially the video from the what-if post (seen below). Perhaps I can think of a crazy trail question for what if? and collaborate with him.
To figure out where lightning is likely to hit, you roll the imaginary 60-meter sphere across the landscape (for safety reasons, do not use a real sphere). This sphere climbs up over trees and buildings without passing through anything (or rolling it up). Places the surface makes contact—treetops, fenceposts, and golfers in fields—are potential lightning targets.
This means you can calculate a lightning “shadow” around an object of height h on a flat surface.
The shadow is the area where the leader is likely to hit the tall object instead of the ground around it:
Now, that doesn’t mean you’re safe on the ground around it—often, it means the opposite. After the current hits the tall object, it flows out into the ground. If you’re touching the ground nearby, it can travel through your body. Of the 28 people killed by lightning so far this…read more @ what-if