You must have noticed that lightning often occurs with rain. Do they cancel each other out, or do they still cause damage? This article will explore whether fire can occur in a rainstorm.
The occurrence of fire depends entirely on the area where lightning strikes. If the area is dry, a fire will spread, but if it is wet, the fire may occur but will not spread.
For more details, please continue reading.
Lightning is a powerful natural phenomenon that is characterized by electricity. It occurs between the clouds but extends to the air around the cloud and the ground beneath it. The lightning spark occurs between two oppositely charged particles.
The air around the cloud tries to contain the lightning by acting as an insulator, but eventually, the charge gets too high to control and produces a spark of electricity. This then hits the ground and is seen as lightning.
Lightning can be powerful enough to set things on fire and cause other substantial damage to humans, animals, and property. Lightning often occurs in association with thunderstorms and rain.
A rainstorm is a storm that primarily consists of rain; the repeated occurrence of rain can also often be labeled as a rainstorm. Changes in the atmospheric pressure and the humidity in the air are responsible for causing rainstorms and the duration and strength of rainstorms.
Can Lightning And Rainstorms Occur Together?
Yes, they do occur together. Lightning and rainstorms hitting a region together are very common and a phenomenon observed for centuries.
Rain provides the perfect environment for lightning to take place. It increases the moisture content and allows the water and ice particles in the clouds to gain more charge. As these clouds get charged, they discharge electricity within the cloud. During a rainstorm, lightning hits the ground quite often.
Does Lightning Cause Fire In A Rainstorm?
As we mentioned previously, lightning can cause a fire, but how does this change when a rainstorm occurs simultaneously?
The risk of fire primarily depends on the area where the lightning strikes. If the lightning strikes a dry area where the rain does not reach, a fire will likely occur. The heat from the lightning can easily ignite other parts of the area. If the fire is not controlled timely, it may increase and engulf a large property area.
The rainstorm will eventually put it out, depending on the intensity of the rain, but the damage would have been done.
On the other hand, if lightning strikes a wet area where rain is still falling, it may not cause a fire. The heat of the lightning bolt will be dispersed and countered by the wetness and low temperature of the rain.
Can Lightning Start Your House On Fire In A Thunderstorm?
The possibility of your house getting on fire because of the lightning when a thunderstorm is simultaneously happening is very low. However, the chances cannot be dismissed.
Areas of your house, like the porch or covered roof parts, may still be susceptible to fire as lightning could hit those dry areas. We recommend you remove any flammable materials from open spaces which could cause the fire to increase in size. Doing so will ensure that even if a fire breaks out, the rain can put it out on its own.
Interesting Lightning Facts
Lightning is, arguably, one of the most interesting phenomena that Earth gave us. Below we discuss a rare form of lightning called mega flash. We also look at how frequent lightning is on this planet and how much heat one lightning bolt can produce.
Megaflash is a form of huge lightning that lasts for a long time. A lightning flash over 440 miles is characterized as a mega flash. The occurrence of mega flash is rare but has often been observed.
The longest lightning bolt and the biggest mega flash stretched across the sky was seen in April 2022. The length of the bolt was 767 kilometers which is the size of three states combined, New York, Ohio, and Columbus.
Frequency Of Lightning
While we do not see thunderstorms or lightning that frequently, they occur much more often than we think; lightning hits Earth at least 8 million times in one day. Not all these lightning strikes cause substantial damage or are reported.
Heat In Lightning
A lightning bolt can generate enormous heat, estimated to reach up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,760 degrees Celsius) at its core. This temperature is even hotter than the sun’s surface, which has around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius).
The reason for such high heat is the huge amount of electrical energy released when a lightning bolt travels through the air. The energy causes the air molecules along the lightning bolt’s path to rapidly heat up and emit light in the form of a bright flash.
Due to the high heat that is produced, lightning has the ability to cause fires.
Interesting Rainstorm Facts
Below are some interesting rainstorm facts that may intrigue you because rainstorms are much more than what meets the eye.
A derecho is a weather event characterized by severe thunderstorms that produce widespread, straight-line wind damage. These storms are associated with a fast-moving system and can produce winds of up to 100 or more miles per hour.
Derechos can cause significant damage to buildings, trees, and other structures in their path and can be particularly dangerous when they occur at night. They can also cause power outages and disrupt transportation and other services.
Rainforests And Rainstorms
The ecosystem of a rainforest relies completely on the occurrence of rainstorms. Without rainstorms, adequate water and nutrients for the plants will not be produced. Moreover, the climate will not be sustained, leading to issues with wildlife, flora, and rainforest fauna.
Due to climate change, the rainstorms in rainforests have begun to decrease. However, a bigger threat to rainstorms is human commercial activities like deforestation and the harvesting of animals for production purposes.
Lightning and rain storms often occur together, but one cancels out the other. The phenomena of something that produces a lower temperature and something that can produce higher heat than the sun are fascinating.