An account of the dangers of lightning

Lightning safety and people Lightning can occur during any time of the year, but lightning casualties are highest during summer. July is generally the month with the most lightning. Lightning strikes often occur in the afternoon.

An account of the dangers of lightning

Read June 28, THE inclosed is an account of the effects of the lightning on the steeple and spire of St. Bride's church, with drawings [Tab. I thought it would be of use, by describing the several circumstances of this accident, to shew more fully the necesity of preventing the danger, that such buildings are exposed to.

The construction of the spire is somewhat similar to that of an apparatus purposely contrived to draw the lightning from the clouds, as it runs up towards a point, and ends in a metal vane and cross, the figure of which, as well as the materials that they consist of, seem calculated to admit the lightning with the least resistance.

At this place the first marks of it are seen: Some small pieces of solder are melted; and all this part appears as if it had been exposed to the fire.

The lightning seems to have entered here, and to have been conducted as low as the hole at A, by an iron spindle twenty feet in length, and two inches in diameter; of which ten feet were surrounded by the copper ball, vane and cross; and the lower half was inclosed in a groove cut through the middle of the solid stones which composed the upper part of the spire, and rested at A on the bottom of that groove, which was sunk five inches deep into the lowest of those solid stones: The interval between the sides of the spindle and the groove made to receive it was filled up by melted lead poured in between them.

An account of the dangers of lightning

At each of the angles of the metal, the stone on which it rested is cracked, which probably was occasioned An account of the dangers of lightning the lightning issuing with greater freedom from those parts, than from the flat surface.

From hence, as low as to the corniche B, it seems to have been conducted along the surface of the spire, which was wetted by the rain that had fallen in the morning, before the lightning: Under the corniche, the lightning descended only by leaping from one iron to another; and at every leap its force seems to have been weakened, and at last to have been quite dissipated.

On examining the inside of the steeple beginning from the top, the first effect of the lightning that appears is a hole in the stone work at B, beginning immediately above an iron bar which served to support the top of the window or opening, and running upwards towards the two cross iron bars: The next stroke is about four feet below: At D, where the two iron bars serving to support the top of the windows meet and are joined together, the lightning accumulated in them has broken of the pier by which they were inclosed.

At Fig 2, a bar of iron, which served to support the top of the window in the same manner as those last mentioned, 21 inches long clear of the stonework, and half an inch thick, is broke and bent into the position expressed in the drawing; and the stones immediately above it are shattered and disjointed.

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The sills of two windows of this story are torn off from iron bars which lay beneath them. The flaw is continued downwards, as expressed in the drawing, meeting with smaller iron cramps in it's way.

At the bottom of this arch the sill stone, which covered some cramps of iron, is torn off from it's place. At G, the next arch under this, the force of the lightning seems to have been much diminished, a small part of one stone only being broken.

From the wall at the West side of the South window of the belfry some stones are thrown down: This is the lowest mark which is left of the effects of the lightning.

In every part that is damaged, the lightning has acted as an elastic fluid, endeavouring to expand itself where it was accumulated in the metal: Amongst many other stones thrown to a considerable distance by these explosions, one weighing above seventy pounds was removed fifty yards Eastward from the steeple, where it fell through the roof of a house.

It is evident that these effects would have been prevented, if a sufficiently large metallic conductor had been extended from the metal at the top of the spire down to the earth, communicating with the other metallic parts of the building that lay in it's way.

From several observations which I made on this occasion, such a communication seems necessary in buildings of this form. The iron bars, which were fixed in the stonework of the East arches were struck by the lightning, while those in the arches fronting them on the West side of the same story remained untouched by it.

So that I do not apprehend, that a conductor communicating with the West arches only, would have preserved the opposite ones from the damage which they have suffered. When such buildings are exposed to very large clouds replete with lightning, there is no reason to imagine that they will not convey some of their contents to other metallic parts of the building at the same time as to the metal at the top: A wire, or very small rod of metal, does not seem to be a canal sufficiently large to conduct so great a quantity of lightning to the earth; especially when any part of it, or of the metal communicating with it, is enclosed in the stone work; in which case, the application of it would tend to increase its bad effects, by conducting it to parts of the building which it might otherwise not have reached.

Franklynfrom observing that the filleting of gold leaf on the cover of a book conducted the charge of five large jars, reasons that a wire will be sufficient to conduct the lightning from the highest buildings to the earth. But it appears from an experiment of his own, that a much larger body of metal, when inclosed between small plates of thick looking-glass, is not sufficient to conduct a fifth part of such a charge, without being melted, and bursting to pieces the plates of glass.

And it is remarkable, that in those parts of the church where the effects of the lightning are most conspicuous, the iron was inclosed in resisting substance simiiar to the glass surrounding the gold leaf in that experiment. Wires, instead of conducting the lightning, have frequently been melted by the explosion.

So that, I think, a conductor of metal less than six or eight inches in breadth, and a quarter of an inch in thickness or an equal quantity of metal in any other form that maybe found more convenient cannot with safety be depended on, where buildings are exposed to the reception of so great a quantity of lightning.

These are the only points in which I have ventured to differ from Dr. I shall not think my time ill employed, if these observations contribute to our security against the effects of lightning.

An account of the dangers of lightning

Certainly an inquiry into the properties of the electric fluid, as it furnishes us with the means of preventing such accidents, is far from being an useless speculation.Oct 04,  · An Account of the Effects of Lightning in St. Bride's Church, Fleet-street, on the 18th of June by William Watson THE inclosed is an account of the effects of the lightning on the steeple and spire of St.

Bride's church, with drawings [Tab. XIV. XV.] which very accurately express the parts. In , the Lightning Safety Council started an annual awareness campaign on lightning safety.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week is observed during the last week of June. Here are some tips to keep you and your property safe. Another reason lightning is so dangerous is because of the destructive power it carries.

The average lightning bolt carries about 30, amps of charge, has million volts of electric potential, and is hot, hot, hot at about 50, degrees Fahrenheit.

Dangers of lightning When we think of how lightning can hurt us, we often think of a direct strike injuring or killing a person. However, a direct hit from lightning is responsible for only a small percentage of lightning-related injuries compared to other causes.

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Lightning results from the build-up and discharge of electrical energy between positively and negatively charged areas storm clouds, or between charged portions of the storm and the ground. Lightning bolts can reach up to 20 km in length.

An account of the dangers of lightning