The story of lightning:
We have studied about charges and their properties. Now let us relate the charges with lightning.
- During rain or thunderstorm, air currents move upwards while the water droplets move downwards.
- In this process, charges also get separated. The positive charges accumulate near the upper edges of clouds, and the negative charges accumulate near the lower edges of clouds.
- There is an accumulation of positive charges on the ground also.
- Air is present between the clouds and the ground. Generally, the air is a poor conductor of charges. When the air loses its resistance, it starts to conduct the charges.
- Negative and positive charges meet, producing streaks of bright light and sound. We see streaks as lightning, and this process is known as electric discharge.
- The process of electric discharge can occur between clouds and the earth's surface or even between two clouds.
Charges on cloud and land surface
- Walking or standing in an open place during the lightning is not safe for us. A lightning strike could destroy life and property. So, it is essential to take steps to protect ourselves.
- As soon as the sound of thunder is heard, find a safe place like a building or vehicle. If you are travelling by vehicle, you are safe inside with the windows and doors of the vehicle shut.