Lightning – UPSC GS1

Just like flood and cyclones, lightning also pose as major natural hazard in India. Examine how, where and with what consequences. (200 Words)

Lightening is an electrostatic discharge during Thunderstorm between electrically charged regions of a cloud, between two clouds or clouds and ground. Objects struck by lightning experience heat and magnetic force of greater intensity which can severe injury or nervous breakdown or even deaths in some cases. It is very difficult to predict lightning as it may occur in fractions of seconds.
Lightening is a major natural hazard just like floods and cyclones. However, due to its dispersed nature, it has escaped any serious consideration even while being responsible for around 10% of all deaths caused by natural hazards. Data by National Crime Records Bureau show that lightning has been responsible for more than 2000 deaths in India every year since 2005.
Lightning strikes are more common in the eastern states of the country like Odisha, West Bengal along with the North Eastern states. The Vidarbha and Marathawada regions of Maharashtra also have around 300 fatalities annually due to Lightning strikes.
Lightning strikes have the following consequences –
  1. Lead to serious injuries and death for a large number of people.
  2. Causes economic losses as it can damage a lot of sensitive instruments.
  3. Lightening can also start forest fires, thus further causing damage to life and property.
Just like earthquakes, lightening is impossible to predict. However, there are a few simple precautions that can be taken to protect one against Lightening strike. The Indian Institute of Tropical Metrology has started a Centre to study lightning. It is important that the administration wakes up to the damage caused by Lightning and takesĀ  mitigating steps to prevent such immense waste of precious life.



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