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All of South Australia has lost power after a monster storm plunged its 1.7 million population into darkness.
Violent gale-force winds as well as gigantic hail and thousands of lightning strikes have battered the state after a vicious cold front swept across the region.
The massive power cut has left homes and businesses in darkness as well as knocking out traffic lights forcing drivers to make perilous junction crossings.
Police were dispatched to direct vehicles after widespread reports of road accidents.
Hospitals have also been forced to switch to backup power to keep vital equipment running.
Energy minister Josh Frydenberg said: “We’re working together to ensure that all the emergency measures are put in place, so that electricity can be restored to South Australians as soon as possible."
SA Power Networks said: "There were more than 21,000 lightning strikes recorded over a 12-hour period from midday yesterday on the West Coast.
"As a result it is likely some damage has occurred to our distribution network.
Forecasters had warned of “gale-force winds” and torrential rain leading to rising rivers across the state in what have been described as the worst storms to hit in 50 years.
The storm is expected to bring destructive 86mph gusts, heavy rainfall and flash flooding.
Australian premier Jay Weatherill is having a crisis meeting with emergency services minister Peter Malinauskas – who can’t make calls because his phone requires constant electricity.
Officials have put 18,000 emergency service workers and volunteers and volunteers on standby while the RSPCA has urged pet owners to look after their animals during the storms.
South Australia is the country's fifth most populous region, with 1.7 million people, and is a major wine producer and traditional manufacturing hub.
Aug 25th 2016 Cambodia
Lightning strikes have claimed 92 Cambodian lives so far this year, a significant jump from the 64 deaths that occurred between January and August last year, according to a government official.
Keo Vy, spokesman for National Committee for Disaster Management, said that through late August, 92 people have been killed by lightning and 99 others have been injured. Over the same period last year, 64 were killed and 58 were injured.
Eighty cows and buffalos have also been killed by lightning in 2016, and dozens of houses damaged, according to Vy.
“It’s still rainy season, when lightning frequently occurs. This August, wind from other regions has reached our country, causing low pressure and rain, storms and lightning,” Vy said.
“We must be cautious to avoid lightning strikes by switching off phones or TV.”
The weather has also been hotter this year, creating stronger winds than normal.
Vy said that so far this year, 15 people have been killed by strong winds, with another 183 injured. Thousands of homes have also been damaged by strong winds and storms.
Lightning storms which have killed at least one man and injured many others are set to continue for three more days in central Europe before heading west to Britain, forecasters have warned.
Witnesses said there were “no clouds in the sky” before a summer storm struck a children’s football match in western Germany on Saturday, injuring 35, including the referee who went into cardiac arrest after being hit directly by lightning.
A hiker descending a mountain in south-west Poland was killed by a bolt of lightning, while a 61-year-old man in the same region drowned in flash flooding.
And in Paris, the same weather system saw a sudden, violent storm appear over a children’s birthday party in a park in the city’s north-west. Eight children and three adults were injured when lightning struck a tree they were sheltering under.
A graphic released by the Met Office in the UK showed storms continuing to circulate around central and western Europe, and meteorologist Dean Hall told The Independent the risks associated with lightning, flash flooding, large hail and strong winds would remain until Tuesday.
The danger from the storms is greatest during the day, Mr Hall said, as a humid mass of air is heated by the sun to produce sudden, huge clouds and a very unstable atmosphere.
Storms had already been observed in northern parts of France on Sunday morning, he said. “There are likely to be more through much of the day, with showers and thunderstorms developing across central Europe, France, Germany and the Low Countries,” he said.
— Met Office (@metoffice)May 29, 2016
“Lightning will be a concern,” he said. “It is going to continue to be very unsettled over the next few days, and with up to 100ml of rain falling in a few hours there could be some flash flooding.”
The storm system is due to move west on Monday night, he said, hitting the UK in East Anglia and South East England.
“There could be some heavy rain, some rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning,” he said, adding that the impacts are probably “not going to be as severe as we have seen over on the near-continent”.
“The rain coming across south-eastern parts of England will be coming in overnight, so we lose that heating impact to develop the thunderstorms,” Mr Hall said.
Anyone caught in one of the severe lightning storms in Europe was advised to ignore the “natural instinct” to rush for shelter under trees or use umbrellas.
Short of staying indoors and waiting for the storms to pass, Mr Hall said, the best thing to do is “crouch down low to the ground so you reduce surface area and everything else is above you”.
Speaking in the aftermath of Saturday’s dramatic incidents across Europe, one Paris resident who lives near the park and saw the lightning crash down said it was rare to see such a wild storm hitting the French capital.
Storm warnings were in effect across parts of France on Saturday, and the weather had violent consequences elsewhere in Europe, but alerts were not in place for the capital itself.
“It was dramatic,” Jean-Louis Laurens told the Associated Press.
A spokesman for Paris' fire service said the incident could have been even more serious, were it not for the actions of an off-duty firefighter who played a critical role in getting immediate medical help to the victims.
Commander Pascal Gremillet was visiting a museum nearby when he noticed the commotion and discovered nine of the 11 victims lying unconscious. He provided first aid, CPR and heart messages to those in direst need.
“He saw who was the most seriously injured. He did a quick triage of the victims. He did first aid. He alerted the rescue services,” spokesman Eric Moulin told The Associated Press. “Without his actions, it would have been much worse.”
This new article on lightning strikes Is very interesting
Somewhere in the sky, in the guts of a storm, lightning is forming.
Although it’s rare, with the odds of getting struck in your lifetime being roughly 1 in 12,000, every now and then a human will provide an attractive target for lightning bolts to unleash their energy. And of the roughly 500 people who are struck by lightning each year, about 90% survive.
Here’s what you should expect if you ever find yourself in the path of lightning.
How lightning forms
Although we're still not sure what causes it, scientists believe that ice particles bumping together inside a cloud can cause an excess of negative charge to collect at the bottom of the cloud. This charge can be so powerful that it repels electrons, negatively charged particles, on the ground beneath it, causing the ground to become positively charged.
As an insanely strong electrical field roils in the cloud above, an intense attraction builds between the cloud and the ground. Lightning is the runaway force that discharges this field. It races toward the ground at nearly 300,000 kilometers per hour, striking the ground with an energy of 300 kV, up to 150 times more powerful than an industrial shock. The energy can even exceed the power of a nuclear reactor. When the lightning hits the ground, it causes a trail of plasma that lights the sky with those telltale zigzags of blueish white light that we see as lightning.
A lot can happen in the three milliseconds it takes for a lightning bolt to course through your body.
As the lightning strikes and then exits your body, it will leave you with deep wounds, often accompanied with third degree burns. Your hair and clothing might singe or catch fire. Your clothes might even be shredded by the explosive force of the surrounding air being superheated to up to 50,000 degrees F (five times hotter than the surface of the sun).
If you happen to be wearing any metal objects, like necklaces or a piercings, they could channel the electric current, superheating and searing your skin. And if the lightning exits through your feet, the force could literally knock your shoes off.
Blood vessels bursting from the electric discharge and heat might create something called a Lichtenberg figure on your skin. This is a pattern of scars that branches out across your body like the limbs of a tree, likely tracing the path the electricity took as it traveled through you.
It’s not uncommon for the blast to rupture your eardrums, possibly leading to hearing loss. And, of course, you can expect a whole world of pain. One victim recalled it as “the pain of a thousand wasps stinging from within.”
In the wake of a lightning strike
Immediately after being struck, the disruption the lightning would have caused to your heart's electrical rhythm could result in cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of death in lightning strike victims. The shock could also cause seizures or respiratory arrest. If the electric current enters your skull, it could literally cook your brain, resulting in brain damage or putting you in a coma. The strike could even cause temporary or permanent paralysis.
But it doesn’t end there.
In the wake of a lightning attack, you might be faced with a lifetime of neurological afflictions for reasons that scientists still don’t fully understand. Some scientists believe
that the lightning scrambles your internal circuitry, altering the behavior of your cells. You might undergo personality changes, mood swings, and memory loss. It's also possible that you will suffer from chronic pain and constant Parkinson's-like muscle twitches.
In some cases, however, a lightning strike can lead to strange super talents. In a blog post for Psychology Today, University of Miami neuroscientist Berit Brogaard writes about an incident where an orthopedic surgeon who was struck by lightning developed an urge to learn to play the piano. He began to compose music he had mysteriously started hearing in his head since the strike. After a few months he abandoned his career as a surgeon and became a classical musician. This type of phenomenon baffles scientists.
One theory that Brogaard says is currently being tested is that cell death caused by being struck by lightning could cause a one-time flooding of the brain with neurotransmitters that are released from the dying neurons. This causes a rewiring of neurons, providing access to areas of the brain that were previously inaccessible.
But as cool as it would be, you shouldn’t count on that stray bolt of electricity turning you into a prodigy in one swift flash. The overwhelming majority of consequences of being struck by lightning are painful and debilitating, and could stay with you for the rest of your life.
While your chances of being struck by lightning are low, you can stay safe by tossing aside that fishing pole or golf club when you see clouds forming and heading indoors
It may be partly due to better recording and reporting of strikes hitting people but it does seem to be happening more frequently, and it is not true to say that it doesn’t strike in the same place twice because there are people that have been struck numerous times.
That being said sensible precautions will generally keep you safe, it may seem strange but if you are in a car you are safe this is not true of convertibles with plastic or canvas roofs, if you are in the open put your umbrella down it’s better to be wet than dead, do not shelter under trees.
So what is the cause, the churning water droplets in the cloud formations generate static electricity and the difference in the potential between the earth and the clouds is equalized by discharges of electricity, a strike from the clouds is usually preceded by an electrical discharge from the earth called a feeder, this is relatively feeble and what you perceive with the naked eye is the main strike down from the clouds.
Our weather is a very active system and there are thunder storms happening all over the world with thousands of strikes happening every day, some areas are much more prone to strikes than others, there are very interesting videos taken from the international space station of very active storm systems and it is impossible to count of the number of flashes, it is one continuing light show.
Tall buildings are always protected by fixing a copper strip from the top of the building and taking it to earth in the foundations, this serves as a safe path for the electricity to travel to earth, aircraft are very often struck and are protected against this causing serious damage by careful design, the only protection we humans have is to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You have been warned use this knowledge wisely.
General safety precautions. Make sure you are not the tallest object, take shelter as soon as you can, but not under trees, do not use your umbrella, crouch close to the ground and keep your arms close to your body.
Fortunately with modern radar systems the formation and path of these storms can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.Home Page - winds - lightning
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