• Why Charlotte region gets hit by excessive lightning

    By: John Ahrens

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Excessive lightning strikes Monday caused damage in the Charlotte area. The Charlotte Fire Department responded to more than 40 storm-related emergencies, while the Huntersville Fire Department responded to 14 emergencies, many due to lightning strikes.

    No one was hurt, but lightning kills more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined, Channel 9 meteorologist John Ahrens said.

    Michael Stewart was next door to a home in Huntersville when it was hit by lightning.

    "We ran over there and made sure no one was home, brought out the garden hose. She's on the phone with the fire department," Stewart said.

    About 100 lightning bolts can strike every second as warm air surges up into a storm. That warm air interacts with ice and water in clouds to create electrical charges.

    If there is an opposite charge on the ground, lightning strikes.

    A single bolt of lightning is five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

    North Charlotte and Huntersville experienced that as the area was recently bombarded by the force of nature.

    "We had just come from the storm, and there were bolts here, bolts there, everything was cloud to ground," Stewart said.

    It is rare to have that much lightning concentrated in one area, Ahrens said.


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    Lightning will be the top threat for pop-up storms this week.

    North Carolina ranks fourth in the country for lightning fatalities.

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