Half of all deaths by lightning in KZN

2015-02-17 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL accounts for about half of all deaths by lightning in South Africa, the South African Weather ­Service has said.

While data on the number of deaths due to lightning is difficult to measure, the agency said using newspaper clippings it has determined that since 2006 there have been more than 100 deaths, half of them in KZN.

Elsa de Jager, a manager at the SA Weather Service, said on average the country has over 23,5 million lightning strikes every year. “The highest concentrations of lightning is found over the central to northern interior of South Africa, with areas along the northern parts of the eastern escarpment experiencing the highest flash densities. The summer-rainfall region in South Africa is dominated by thunderstorms of convective origin producing all the lightning,” she said.

The country is currently in its highest probability of lightning strikes. On ­average in February there are 3,6 ­million incidents recorded.

The agency said that much of the electric activity in KwaZulu-Natal was due to its topography and the prevalence of natural conductors in the rock formations.

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