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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

lightning rampage - killing spree in Andhra Pradesh

On  June 7, 1975, the World Cup limited Overs Tournament for men was inaugurated.  India played in the very first match and were thrashed in the hands of England – some may be surprised to know that the Inaugural WC for women was played 2 years earlier… Matches have been stopped / abandoned due to host of reasons right from weather, rain, animal entry,  crowd behaviour, stadium collapse, ground being dug up, assassination of political leader elsewhere and more… some are weird too !!!

It was tempting to think Serbia's Euro 2016 qualifier against Albania - the latter's first visit to Belgrade since 1967 - was going to conclude without incident. The match in Belgrade was stopped after 41 minutes when a drone sparked a brawl.  The  game, with no away fans permitted, was interrupted when a flag depicting so-called Greater Albania, an area covering all parts of the Balkans where ethnic Albanians live, was flown over the terraces and pitch by what appeared to be a remote controlled mini drone near the end of the first half.

At Hambantota in Nov 2013, rain proved not to be the tropical monsoon's only disciple in its ongoing war against cricket in Sri Lanka, as another  meteorological phenomenon stopped play and prompted the players' exit. Dark clouds had gathered over the venue before the match had begun, but around the 20th over, lightning began to strike the forest to the east, about 1.5km from the venue. Spotting a particularly menacing fork, the umpires conferred and led the players off the field, citing concern for their safety.  Well, that sounds aright, but who will care for the groundsmen and others on the field – is their lives any less important !!!

Lightning is one of the most beautiful displays in nature. It is also one of the most deadly natural phenomena known to man. Lightning is the transient passage of electrical current between a cloud and either the surface of the earth, or another cloud, etc. With bolt temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun and shockwaves beaming out in all directions, lightning is a lesson in physical science and humility.Beyond its powerful beauty, it can cause havoc killing people and destroying property.

Lightning is a sudden electrostatic discharge during an electrical storm between electrically charged regions of a cloud (called intra-cloud lightning or IC), between that cloud and another cloud (CC lightning), or between a cloud and the ground (CG lightning). The charged regions in the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves through this discharge referred to as a strike if it hits an object on the ground. Although lightning is always accompanied by the sound of thunder, distant lightning may be seen but be too far away for the thunder to be heard.

There are places where lightning strikes regularly - Africa is the lightning capital of the world, according to map that tracked every  bolt of lightning to hit the earth for 18 years.  A Nasa map has revealed which parts of the world experience the most flashes of lightning ever year.  According to the satellite observations, lightning occurs more often over land than it does over oceans; lightning seems to happen more often closer to the equator, owing to the hotter temperatures .... Democratic Republic of Congo and Lake Maracaibo in northwestern Venezuela experienced the most.

For an Insurer, Lightning is a peril and cause loss or damage. In India, the Standard Fire & Special Perils policy ~ a named Perils policy has ‘lightning’ included in the listed perils and hence loss or damage caused  by lightning is indemnifiable.Today’s the Hindu reports that -  lightning struck a palm tree next to the club room abutting the ground at Perecharla, Andhra. The friendly match between women teams of Andhra and Tripura was abandoned.

Seethapathi, member of ACA, who was present at the ground said, ``It started raining at 1.50 p.m. and the umpires called off the play. We heard a loud and thundering sound that left the players, umpires and the selectors, who were on the first floor of the building, scurrying for cover.After some time, we realised that the lightning struck a palm tree just next the building and we could see the tree was in flames. We all came rushing out of the building and the women players ran to the buses.’’ According to eyewitnesses, the fire raged for about 30 minutes even in pouring rain.

Parts of the district witnessed a heavy downpour since Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, lightening claimed three lives in Sattenapallimandal.  Some reports indicate that around 20 people were killed after lightning struck different parts of Andhra Pradesh as heavy rain lashed the state of Sunday.The incidents occurred in Krishna, Guntur, East Godavari, Prakasam and Nellore districts.Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh to each of the victim killed in lightning.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th Sept. 2015.

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