Saturday, January 30, 2016

EXTREMELY LOUD VERY CLOSE LIGHTNING STRIKE Taken by Peter Lowenstein on January 25, 2016 @ Mutare, Zimbabwe

On the afternoon of 25 January the drought, which has been affecting Mutare and Eastern Zimbabwe for several weeks, broke in spectacular fashion with a violent thunderstorm, torrential rain and very strong winds (fourth image). 

At 16.46 LT there was a single extremely loud and very close lightning strike on my premises which was captured on video by a Panasonic Lumix TZ-10 compact camera set up on a tripod on the front veranda overlooking Murambi suburb.

See accompanying animated GIF and video posted at The blinding light and deafening whip-crack report from the lightning bolt were so intense that I was unable to see or hear for a while.

The duration of the strike was so short that it occupies only two frames recorded at 30 fps (second and third images). The first frame shows a single small fireball (ball lightning?) on the overhead telephone cables at the top of a pole near my entrance gate (bottom left).

The second shows two additional smaller fireballs, illuminated raindrops and a brilliant reflection of the main lightning discharge which is just outside the field of view of the camera (top center).

The strike did not cause structural damage to the house but burnt out thousands of dollars worth of electrical equipment despite installed voltage switches, regulators and surge protectors.

Fortunately no-one was injured even though some of the lightning entered an occupied kitchen in the domestic quarters through a closed window to find earth at the electric cooker power point. 150 mm of much needed rain has fallen since then with more forecast to come.



CAUTION! At full volume the sound of the strike is so loud that it could damage speakers or affect hearing if headphones are used.

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