Can lightning strike the same place twice?

This is a two parter. 1. Can lightning strike the same place twice? 2. What surface area of the ground is actually “struck”?

Dr. P. “You can’t fake the funk.”

Yes, lightning can strike the same place twice. Many large buildings with lightning rods have been struck multiple times. I recall hearing about a park ranger who had been hit by lightning 7 times at last count.

According to a program I saw ton TLC, the forrest ranger finally comitted suicide after being struck for the eighth time. Said he couldn’t take the pain any more.

Not that I blame him. After the sixth or seventh time, I’d start to suspect that someone Up There was out to get me.

Some people seem to just attract lightning. Numerous people have been struck repeatedly, even while in their homes. One such case was a woman washing dishes. The lightning came through her window and struck her arms. It was the second time she had been hit.

Isn’t it after you are struck by lightning and survive you become “Enchanted.” Or maybe it’s if you’re struck twice & survive.

My mother got nailed through the water while she was working in the milkhouse and lightning hit a tree about a hundred yards away. My guess is she just got winged, it didn’t even knock her down. A relative on my fathers side (grand uncle I think) was killed by lightning while fixing a barbwire fence back in the 19-teens just a couple miles away from here. As for striking the same place twice I think the maker of the phrase just meant that once lightning strikes a tree it’s never the same, thus even if it struck the same place it wasn’t the exact same place (did that make any sense at all?)

I got struck in the big toe when I was 10. Didn’t affect me. Yeah , Funnee what you said made sense.

I would presume that “lightning never strikes the same place twice” is simply a holdover from the days when it was presumed that lightning struck at random. (Or as divine retribution).
Since the days of Benjamin Franklin we now know that lightning strikes preferred places, mainly tall pointing things that stick up like trees, church steeples, and people standing in the middle of flat fields.

Point and Click: How Custer discovered he’d run out of ammo.

I once read in a book that the Empire State Building is struck 40 times a year, an average of about a little less than once per week.

I remember seeing a TV program that delved into lightning strikes in detail (although where I’m not sure, Nova maybe). They would get the lightning to strike and followed the path of the elec. through the ground. The experiment was in Florida and as the elec. flowed through the sand it basically changed the sand to a glass concretion where it passed. This was brought about by waiting for a T-storm then firng a metal harpoon type thing with a metal cable attached to the ground. They were basically trying to figure out where the lightening travelled after it hit the ground.

It seems to like my modem well enough. It got me and two other neighbors last weekend right through the surge protector.

Seriously though here in FL lightning is a serious danger. Any time there is a storm I head for home and stay there.

The american people are very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.—Will Rogers

I’d say the saying just means to express that being struck by lightning is pretty rare, but being struck multiple times is so unlikely as to be almost impossible. From the examples above, we know this is untrue.

As for people being hit, I suppose there are certain high risk groups, such as people working outside regardless of the weather (forrest rangers, men repairing wire fences during thunderstorms(!)) or working with water in a grounded sink near the window (washing dishes). I guess clothes, especially shoes, play a role; maybe even body chemistry (electrical conductivity). Under such conditions, I suppose it’s not unlikely for someone to get hit seven or eight times. I feel sorry for that ranger, though - why the heck didn’t he get a safer job?!

I want to know what mr. john was doing that made his big toe the highest part of his body when he got hit. :slight_smile:

It only hurts when I laugh.

Wow!! So, I guess lightning can strike the same place twice. Now, that I think about it, I should’ve been able to figure it out for myself. But, if I hadn’t posted this, I never would have read these crazy stories. :smiley:

I once was positioned during a storm with horrendous thunder-and-lightning but little rain, to be able to see the Sears Tower. We watched the lightning rods be hit by lightning several times – I have to tell you, it was an awesome sight (sparks flying, etc.)

A “surge protector” is exactly what it says, NOT a lightning arrestor. A surge is typically a short term increase in voltage of about 20% while lightning can deliver a whopping million or more volts. If a nearby lightning strike gobbled up your modem, your surge protector is probably NOT a surge protector anymore. The MOV that provides the protection is more than likely blown.
Best idea is to check the weather forecast for your area before leaving the house, and if there is a chance of T-storms before you return home, unplug EVERYTHING going from the wall to the computer. This includes, but is not limited to, power supply plugs, telephone plugs, cable connectors leading to other systems (video system, etc.)
When at home, I keep a weather alert radio set to alarm if the weather service detects a thunderstorm approaching, at which point, I go around unplugging a whole assortment of equipment.
I don’t believe in paying for a piece of equipment more than once.


“Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.”~~G.K.Chesterton 1908

Seem to recall that golfers as a group get hit more frequently than any one.Out in the open,metal clubs,(
used to be) metal spikes,plus too stupid to come in out of the rain,though I read of a group in large pagoda ,a bolt entered and singled out one guy,a guy who had been struck before.
Are you sure moonshine?We were at a park playing some exciting game involving running up and down and across the see saws(teeter totters). They were 2X12’s balanced on a long low wide U of metal pipe,held on with u straps bolted to the bottom.A huge lightening bolt (one of those that you here coming and ‘CARAAAACKING’ over head) hit a goal post at the opposite end of the park ,eighth of a mile or less, just as my bare toe was on one of the bolts.All i remember was a brief bluishness to the air,a feeling as if some one had grabbed my foot and flung me head over heels into the air, and then finding my self running the 2 minute mile 6 blocks away toward home.The other guys said I did a one and a half backflip,with a perfect imitation of Of the cartoon running start at the apex, feet churning in circles too fast to see in midair. It must have been a dispearsed,dissipated return stroke. Only thing that happened was my toenail turned black and fell off.
no other lasting injuries. Dang, I almost got bumped off line again,happens every time I type one of these long things, i oughta type um directly to a floppy then submit,but every time I do that the disc comes up blank.No memory at all.
Are you sure moonshine? A group of us were at a playground

I seem to recall that lightning is actually more likely to strike a place if it has struck it already recently, due to the pathway of ionized air particles from a recent strike.

It certainly seems that way if you watch a thunderstorm - sometimes you see multiple bolts in quick succession, all apparently going to the same spot.