Lightning is an incredible force of nature. It seems alive in how it travels, bending and arcing across the sky. When it hits the ground, it produces a blinding flash, vaporising matter, causing trees to explode, and shattering rock. But when it strikes metal, it can send showers of sparks everywhere, as in the case of this video.
Captured at JR Motorsports' parking lot in Mooresville, North Carolina, the strike occurred at 9:24 AM on a Wednesday in January. A trio of trucks, including a Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Super Duty, and a Ram, sit at the back of the parking lot, along with an SUV. Suddenly there's a telephone pole size bolt of lightning, and sparks fly everywhere.
It's hard to tell what got hit. Judging from the video, the lightning struck the metal fence and the Silverado's trailer at the back of the parking lot. Fountains of sparks spray everywhere, and while most of the vehicles appear to escape untouched, the Chevy doesn't look so lucky. Once the sparks clear, its headlights are illuminated, seemingly powered by lightning's electricity.
Lightning produces an incredible light show but is also deadly and can cause severe damage. Last year a strike incinerated most of a Ford Super Duty during a July storm in South Carolina. In August, lightning struck a tree in Lafayette Park across from the White House, killing two people and injuring two others. As for the fence at JR Motorsports, the electricity travelled the entire perimeter of the fence, creating a light show at the front gate.
The best way to avoid being struck by lightning is to stay indoors. If caught outside in a thunderstorm, avoid trees, open fields, and high ground. Keep clear of any tall objects and stay as far away as possible from the water. According to the NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, lightning generates between 100 million and 1 billion volts, heating objects to over 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit (10,000 degrees Celsius).