A Danish airport worker is being treated in hospital after being struck by lightning on Wednesday 12 June 2019. The 58-year-old man was working at Copenhagen Airport when a thunderstorm broke suddenly in the evening, and was struck in the airport grounds. He was rushed to the Rigshospitalet, where his condition is described as 'not dangerous'. A house in the town of Dragør, just outside Copenhagen, was also struck by lightning, resulting in a small fire, though nobody was injured in this incident.
Copenhagen Airport. Google Maps.
Thunderstorms occur when warm, moist bodies of air encounter cooler, drier air packages. The warm air rises over the cooler air until it rises above its dew point (the point where it cools to far to retain its water content as vapour), and the water precipitates out, falling as rain, sleet or hail.
Warm moist air passing over the surface of the Earth acts as an electrical generator, creating a negative charge in the cloud tops and a positive charge at the ground (or occasionally in a second cloud layer). The atmosphere acts as an electrical insulator, allowing this potential to build up, until water begins to precipitate out. This allows a channel of ionised air to form, carrying a current between the clouds and the ground, which we perceive as lightning.
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.