It turns out a lot of what people think they know about thunderstorms is either partially or completely wrong. Even if the storm is a hundred miles away, that doesn’t mean the lightning isn’t right on top of you. 

While injury from lightning strikes has increased since 1940, fatalities have decreased dramatically.  In fact, lightning deaths have become exceedingly rare relative to other weather phenomena, but they still occur.  The most dangerous lightning strikes are those that occur when our guard is down; when lightning strikes from a sky appears to be clear and the nearest thunderstorm on radar is many miles away.  This is called anvil lightning, but it is often referred to as “lightning from the blue.”  Technically, that type of lighting isn’t “from the blue” at all (assuming “blue” is meant to suggest that the sky was perfectly clear when the strike occurred).  Rather, all lightning emanates from the clouds of thunderstorms.  Most lightning strikes occur within or in very close proximity to the thunderstorm producing it; however, anvil lighting can occur dozens — even a hundred or more — miles away from the parent thunderstorm.

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