A motorcyclist has died after being struck by lightning in Florida on Sunday 9 June 2019. The victim, identified as a 45-year-old-man from Charlotte, North Carolina, was travelling south on the I-95 near Ormond Beach in Volusia County when he was hit. It is unclear whether he was killed by the lightning or the subsequent crash.
Emergency vehicles on the I-95 in Florida after a motorcylist was struck by lightning on 9 June 2019. CBS.
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 vapor), 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 ionized air to form, carrying a current between the clouds and the ground, which we perceive as lightning.
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