Some science behind the scenes

Types of lightning

We tend to think of lightning in its forked or sheet state, but one of the more effective forms in which lightning strikes and promotes an experience is as a ‘fireball’ or ‘ball lightning’. They are that much more effective because they travel across the earth and even into houses…

Post subject: Re: Freak Lightning Fireballs on the rise? Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:42 pm  Location: Stafford, Virginia

My grandmother once told me that when the family lived on a hill in Alameda, California, that she remembered ball lightning floating through the bedroom window to dance along the top of their brass bed. Wouldn't that be a sight!

Freak Lightning Fireball reported in Canada- sends 3 to hospital. Mystifies scientists...
August 13, 2009 Canada.com

"There was no wind or rain, only one dark, ominous cloud hanging over the park yesterday afternoon where several children played. Then residents saw a "giant fireball" strike the ground with a burst of white light and explosive thunder. A solitary lightning bolt touched down at about 2:20 p. m., its current travelling through the sodden earth to an adjacent soccer field where it felled a 26-year-old mother, her six-year-old son and a four-year-old boy in the care of a babysitter.

Emergency officials arrived within minutes at Centennial Park near Queen and Centre streets where passers-by were trying to revive the victims. The boys were taken to the Hospital for Sick Children in downtown Toronto where family for the older child paced the intensive care unit. A man close to the family said the boy, while still in critical condition, was breathing on his own last night. His mother, who is in stable condition at a hospital in Brampton, was "coherent" but could not recall what had happened, he said. The other boy remained in critical condition. Ashley Almeida, 17, was walking home from the gym when she heard a bang and, from the corner of her eye, saw people drop to the ground.

"I saw sparks above my head and felt my head shake," she said. "I called 911 right after I saw the children on the ground. Another woman was crying out for help. It was very frightening. I didn't know what to do." Allan Hughes, a 25-year-old video editor whose backyard faces the park, was watching a baseball game when the thunder startled him. He ventured outside where he heard screams. He hopped his backyard fence and ran toward the woman and two children who lay motionless on the grass. Another man was performing CPR on one of the children, so Mr. Hughes tended to the other boy.

"I didn't want to mess up," the visibly shaken young man said. "I pushed on his chest and tried to blow into his mouth. His feet were very bloody. It was the scariest thing I've ever seen. There was absolutely no life in his eyes." In the soccer field late yesterday afternoon, little evidence was left of the freak accident, save for a dislodged clump of grass near where the victims were found. Ernie Banting, platoon chief for the fire department, pointed to the spot where he believes the bolt exited the ground. He said the mother and her son received a "secondary charge." It was unclear where the lightning originally struck. Some residents pointed to the park's jungle gym; others to a nearby metal fence. Residents lingered in the park, contemplating such an unlikely and tragic twist of events. Environment Canada says lightning kills between six and 10 people in the country each year and injures as many as 70.

Most survivors suffer long-lasting health effects such as problems with the nervous system or memory loss. The sudden strike came without a storm, without a warning -- and afterward there was an eerie calm. "I saw what looked like a giant fireball, then a crash of thunder," Ms. Denbok said. "It was very bright." When she ran to the scene, she said she saw a scorch mark on one boy's legs, and another girl who had been near the lightning strike was complaining of a bad headache. "How could anyone have predicted an isolated thundercloud would hit people in the middle of the park, when they're not near a tree or metal object?" she said. "It's unreal."