Why are lightning strikes killing more people every year?
Over 60 people have been killed due to lightning strikes this year in parts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bengal. Lighting kills 2000-2500 people every year and is the largest cause of accidental deaths due to natural causes. This number could increase by *12% with every 1 degree increase in global temperatures. The number of lightning strikes in India is expected to increase by 10-25% with coastal areas being most affected. It’s the least studied natural phenomena with only one team at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune tracking them. Over the last 2 decades, lightning strikes have been increasing especially near the Himalayan foothills. People are struck by ‘ground currents’, which means that the electrical energy spreads for some distance after hitting a large object (such as a tree). Since water is a good conductor of electricity, many people get affected while standing in flooded fields attending to their crops. Predicting a thunderstorm or lightning strike at an exact location is not possible yet. So it is advisable to move indoors during a thunderstorm and avoid touching wires or electrical appliances.