Lightning can kill, destroy, and maim

… people, and especially electronics, when those electronics are out in the desert at a radio comms site.

http://By Catalin.Fatu, CC BY-SA 3.0,

There are a variety of methods developed by others to determine a location’s susceptibility to lightning strikes. Certainly, there’s the question of whether a given location ever gets much in the way of weather that can generate lightning strikes (think LA), but nonetheless, it’s important to realize that bolts from the blue can happen, and when they do, what precautions has a design in place to limit the potential damage.

The little radio site atop Oatman is one of those locations where lightning is probable, at least when there’s that kind of weather somewhere nearby. As well, in one of my day-job jobs, there’s all sorts of lightning strike considerations being done in the design. I get to learn from the experts, there!

A lightning strike is a funny critter – one can never predict precisely when and where the current will go. Plasma physics, air composition, charge distribution, airborne particulates, surface characteristics, probably way more factors. In engineering, one tries to offer “tantalizing” targets for the lightning. But while those targets are only suggestions, they do help quite a lot in terms of the statistical probability of the lightning hitting something that wasn’t intended as a target.

While doing some research for the day job on the rolling-sphere method of lightning protection, I came across this gem of a discription.


It just gives such a sense of predation to the lightning. Not that lightning has that, but kind of cool description nontheless.

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