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Odisha bolts ahead in lightning stakes

Nine lakh lightning strikes in just four months is an electrifying record.

ET Bureau|
Sep 06, 2019, 08.19 AM IST
Getty Images
Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand accounted for 53% of the total number of lightning strikes during this year’s rainy season. (Representative image)
Indians have become used to the word ‘electrified’ being utilised as shorthand for the extension of electricity connections to a place, as opposed to something being charged with electricity or someone being extremely thrilled by an occurrence.

But with nine lakh lightning strikes in four months — the highest in India — Odisha has added a new dimension to the word. So have Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, as between them, these states accounted for 53% of the total number of lightning strikes during this year’s rainy season. And their dubious distinction certainly belies the proverb that lightning never strikes the same place twice. It was obviously coined and touted before weather data was collated to prove that Indra, Zeus, Thor and other gods of lightning prefer some areas on Earth over others.

In Venezuela, where the Catatumbo River meets Lake Maracaibo, there are 28 lightning strikes per minute during 260 stormy days a year, adding up to an electrifying annual total of 1.2 million strikes according to latest data. In fact, it has toppled Congo’s Kifuka village as the most electrified spot on Earth with 250 lightning flashes per sq km annually compared to the latter’s 158. But with nine lakh — almost a million — strikes in just four months, Odisha may well become the electrifying new sensation.

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