Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thunder and Lightning killing people in Jharkhand State of India.

Thunder and Lightning killing people in Jharkhand State of India.
by
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Figure 1: Lightning clouds being built over Ranchi city.


Eight people died and two others were wounded by lightning in three districts of Jharkhand this week. Every week people are being killed by lightning in Jharkhand state of India. On 4th October A 12-year-old boy was killed and 25 others injured today when lightning struck at Islamnagar village in Jharkhand's Lohardagga district.
The lightning struck when the children were playing on the street at about 12 noon..The boy died on the spot, while the injured people, including 14 male and rest women and children, were admitted to Lohardagga Sadar Hospital.
On October 2 five people were killed and four others injured Friday evening when lightning struck a hut in which they had taken shelter in a Jharkhand village. The incident took place in Kambo village, about 40 km from Ranchi city.
According to the police, nine people took shelter in the hut with a roof made of paddy husk.The lightning struck the hut and five people died on the spot while four were injured.
This year till now more than 70 people have been killed hundreds injured. In the year 2007 more than 150 people died including 5 children of Ranchi city. This natural disaster is gradually increasing from last several years. The weather gods, it seems, have crushed Jharkhand. If heat stroke was not enough, then lightning has emerged as a big killer in the state.

While the state government is perturbed, people get mortally scared when discharged electricity. Unlike heat waves which is more severe during summer, lightning strikes have taken place at alarming regularity in almost all parts of the state.

Mainly high elevated places are prone to lightning in Jharkhand, such as isolated trees or tall buildings and, of course, lightning conductors. In Jharkhand people who shelter beneath trees during storm are often at severe risk of a lightning strike.

From six different types of lightning, Fork Lightning is very frequent in the state.

The plateau region of Jharkhand contains high amount of Iron stone in the rocks and soils. According to the recent studies lightning has been used as a naturally occurring instrument for studying the electrical nature of the ground. There have been numerous ancient observations based on these studies, however “few modern studies exist to indicate that soils of high conductivity (e.g. marshes) are lightning-prone; that ironstone outcrops attract lightning.

In Jharkhand forest areas are more prone to lightning. Trees are frequent conductors of lightning to the ground. Since sap is a poor conductor, its electrical resistance causes it to be heated explosively into steam, which blows off the bark outside the lightning's path.

From past several years the climate of Jharkhand has changed a lot from bad to worse. Ranchi which was earlier the summer capital of the Bihar and Jharkhand state united, is now under the impact of global warming or say regional warming. One of the major cause of global warming is carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Models have been developed that predict atmospheric increases in CO2. One such model predicts that a doubling of CO2could increase the amount of lightning occurrences by 30–77% .

The number of lightning deaths in the state has almost doubled in the past several years. Add to this the hundreds who sustain injuries and the loss of cattle and property annually. And, you would know why panic sets in when people in Jharkhand see the magnificent flashes with thundering sounds on the sky.

Thunder and lightning are probably the most obvious and dramatic features of common storms. Although there is still no clear agreement on how lightning is formed it is believed that it’s largely due to collisions between ice crystals.

As floods ,earthquakes, cyclone, drought, hailstorms, tsunami figure in the list of natural calamities in India, lightning should also be included in the list.
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