Positive polarity lightning more dangerous than negative | KOB 4

Positive polarity lightning more dangerous than negative

Eddie Garcia
May 23, 2018 06:41 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Warning coordination meteorologist Kerry Jones and his team at the National Weather Service office in Albuquerque keep an eye on real-time lightning strikes throughout the state.


About 90 percent of cloud-to-ground strikes have negative polarity. They usually come from the bottom of the cloud.

But another more dangerous type is a positive lightning strike. They only account for about 10 percent of ground strikes.

"You get these lightning strikes literally from what looks to be out of nowhere," Jones said.

The reason? Positive strikes come directly from the top of a thunderstorm or the anvil head. Positive strikes can be 10 times more powerful than negative strikes.

"There's a much deeper layer of clear air, atmosphere that the lightning strike travels ... which is why they're so much more powerful and stronger," Jones said.

Positive strikes can last much longer too. That long duration is only a matter of seconds but can do a lot of damage.

"They last about 10 times longer than your typical lightning strike," Jones said.


Eddie Garcia

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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