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The Ways to Prevent Ball Lightning

2018-10-16  |   Editor : houguangbing  

There were three soldiers struck dead by lightning in a small town in France in 1940s, when they were looking for shelter from the rain under a banyan. But they were still on their feet like nothing had happened. No response was given when passersby tried to talk to them, while the three corpse immediately fell down and turned into ashes once they were touched. There was a strange thing in a small city in America: a housewife found that all the raw meat she put in the fridge was cooked after she arrived home from the vegetable market. Later researches by scientists revealed that the fridge became an electric stove out of ball lightning. What was puzzling was that the fridge still functioned well! On a summer noon in a collective farm in the Soviet Union, 1956, two kids were taking shelter in the cowshed because of the rain. Suddenly an orange fire ball dropped from the white poplar in front of the house and was approaching them directly. The fire ball went into explosion with a ‘bang’ sound after a kick from a kid. 11 of the twelve cattle died, whereas the kids were knocked down to the ground and no one injured. Afterwards the fire ball was known as the rare ball lightning.

An airliner from the Soviet Union was hit by ball lightning near the Black Sea in January, 1981. A big fire ball broke into the cockpit with explosion. Several seconds later, it appeared in the passenger cabin along with its penetration of the sealed metal bulkhead. Then its departure was quietly carried out following a dramatic performance. After the accident, the plane was found to have two holes on the bulkhead, one on the nose of the plane, the other on the tail. On 16th, March, frequent lightning happened suddenly with rumbling thunder in Zaoyang City, Hubei Province. It killed 9 people and injured over 20 on scene, which makes it an extremely disastrous weather. According to witnesses, a wide area of red light was seen where the strike happened, which is just the symbol of ball lightning. There are some doubts that ball lightning is also to blame for the Tunguska Explosion in 19th century in Russia.

To prevent ball lightning, here is something you need to pay attention to:

During a thunderstorm, shut down doors and windows in case of vross ventilation. Gently avoid the floating fire ball and never touch it if you come across one. Other cautions are as same as those to avoid normal lightning, which means one should stay in low areas or in rooms,etc, rather than places under trees or poles, in the fields or somewhere high up.

The scientists’ prediction shows that ball lightning is a vortex of air created at the sharp turn of the lightning channel. Carrying highly-charged particles, it is a lump of gas mixture made up of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and little hydrogen oxide.

Ball lightning usually follows streak lightning that seemingly is the requirement for the former. The rarity of ball lightning creates huge difficulty to study it and keeps it as one of the natural mysteries.

In the Dream Pool Essays written by Shen Kuo, a famous scientist during Northern Song Dynasty, the author wrote down what was really happening along with ball lightning. The note also shows how the storms move: the ball lightning entered the western chamber of the hall and get out under the eaves and between the windows. Safe and sound as the house was, only the walls and the window paper got blackened after the thunder and lightning.

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