happens in 4 steps as follows;
- Stepped leader,
Within the cloud, Electrons which have a negative
charge begin zigzagging downwards seeking the
positive earth this is called a stepped leader.
As the stepped leader nears the ground,it draws
a streamer of positive charge upwards this is called
- Flowing charge,
as the stepped leader and the streamer come together
a powerful electric current begins to flow
- Contact, An
intense wave of positive charge travels upward
at 60,000 miles per second this is called a stroke.
Here is a short animation courtesy
Lightning discharges are awesome and are claimed
to have currents of up to 530,000 amps and produce
voltages in the magnitude of millions of volts
it has be suggested that the energy from 1 strike
could light millions of 100watt light bulbs
Were lightning to strike a building
without a structural lightning scheme, this energy
would seek a path to earth through the fabric of
the building in an erratic and un predictable manner.
The building is likely to be damaged and may even
Lightning protection systems
Our homes and properties can be
insured and repaired if hit by lightning however
injury or the loss of life is not so easily remedied.
We need to seriously think about structural protection
for when we inhabit our homes during a thunderstorm.
This may not be as difficult as we might imagine.
Today there are many products
and systems available we use Furse Professional products
and install this to a strict code BS6651 ‘Protection
of structures against lightning’.
A typical system will have an air
terminal, a copper conducting tape that is terminated
to a grounding earth terminal. This will divert the
lightning straight to the ground in a controlled
The subject of lightning
protection is so diverse I am only outlining the
basic concept of it.
For more in-depth
information on lightning protection please visit
the Furse website
We were contracted to install a lightning conductor
system in Tala near Paphos
The client informed us that he had been struck by
lightning seven times in the past and it had caused
damage almost every time leading to building repairs
luckily a fire never happened.
On one occasion it
had struck the supply cables and blew them off the
We installed a conductor system which ironically
was put to the test the very next morning by a
huge thunderstorm, (installed by man, tested by
we were told that you could hear the strike traveling
through the conductor he said It made sound like
a drawn out zing, we inspected the installation a
few hours later and could find no trace of damage
except where the conductor changed direction, The
connecting plate had been lifted from the wall, screw,
plug and all. This proved that the strike was grounded
in a controlled manner. The structure was not damaged
in any way.
Unfortunately electronic systems protection was not
installed and the client lost a lot of valuable
electronic equipment due to the secondary effects
He was miffed to say the least and proceeded to move
the satellite dish from the roof to the back garden.
This just confirms that a combination of equipment
must be installed to give complete protection.
If you feel that your
property may be at risk then please contact us and
we can discuss your options.
Here is a story of
a young couple that were struck by lightning in Essex
‘A teenaged couple have been describing how they
were struck by lightning in a park in Essex. Sophie
Frost and Mason Billington, both 14, were sheltering
under a tree during a storm. Lightning struck and
Sophie passed out as the current travelled through
her iPod headphones, which were hanging from her
school uniform, burning her chest and stomach. It
then passed through Mason, who was holding her hand.
He described what happened when the lightning struck’.