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Sunday, August 7, 2022

lightning halts play at Lauderhill !!

In the 5th and final T20I between India and West Indies, India made 188/7. Ishan Kishan opened with Shreyas Iyer (another new combo) .. kuldeep Yadav too is back in this match.  After bowling 3 balls in 15th over, play was stopped  due to Florida state law.. .. it was bright sunshine out, yet Play had to be stopped by State law until an all clear is given by the State !! It is due to the lightning detection alarm going off. The system detects any strike within 7 miles of stadium. 

Interestingly, the match is not played in any of the Caribbean grounds ! – the venue is Lauderhill,  a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. Florida,  (Spanish for "land of flowers") is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States,  bordered by Gulf of Mexico,  Alabama and Georgia, Atlantic Ocean, and  Straits of Florida and Cuba. Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 3rd most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the United States. Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States.  

Since the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it La Florida ([la floˈɾiða] "land of flowers") upon landing there in the Easter season, Pascua Florida – Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.  The ground has seen some Cricket already.   Caribbean Premier League's maiden foray into playing on US soil was a chance for the sport to be revived at the Central Broward Regional Park (CBRP) in Lauderhill to combat the burgeoning presence of soccer at the facility.   

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 !!! – this time it was ‘lightning’ !!


Lightning photo from twitter page of Ronald Kotinsky Photography  @rkotinsky


Sometimes when it rains, you get to hear the thunderstorms and see lightning. Lightning is the transient passage of electrical current between a cloud and either the surface of the earth, or another cloud, etc.  Lightning is one of the most beautiful displays in nature. It is also one of the most deadly natural phenomena known to man. 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.  It is common knowledge that lightning is generated in electrically charged storm systems, but the method of cloud charging still remains elusive. 

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. 

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. 

At Florida, Lightning protection systems (LPS) for commercial and industrial facilities are not typically a requirement of national building codes. That said, losses due to lightning strikes and damage, whether direct or indirect, can run into the billions of dollars each year. The sheer power of a lightning strike can cause extensive property damage and completely disrupt a facility’s operations with costly downtime. Fortunately, most of these losses can be mitigated through the implementation of effective a lightning protection system. Even though lightning protection is not required by code, there are several international and national standards that can be referenced that ensure the best possible quality in materials and installation practices.   

The NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems is published and reviewed on a three-year cycle by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It establishes the basis of design and installation requirements for lightning protection systems.   

The Lightning Safety Rules read :  when you are out - appoint someone to watch the skies during your outdoor work or recreation.  Check the latest thunderstorm forecast and monitor the NOAA Weather Radio. When thunder roars, go indoors -- and stay there for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.

When lightning is in your vicinity, go quickly inside a completely closed building.  (Going by this rule, players cannot remain in open when there is lightning warning !) Do not consider carports, open garages, covered patios, or pavilions as adequate shelter. If no closed building is convenient, get inside a hard-topped all-metal vehicle. Do not take shelter under a tree, especially if it is tall and isolated. Get out of the water.  This includes pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, water rides, and even puddled water.  Get off the beach.  Put down metal objects such as fishing poles, golf clubs, tennis rackets, tools. etc.  Dismount from tractors and heavy construction equipment.  Do not seek shelter under the equipment.  Move away from metal objects such as metal fences, metal sheds, telephone and power lines, pipelines, etc.

They take these seriously and implementation is strict for – more people die due to lightning strikes in Florida every year than in any other State in US.  Simple, for Flordia has  more lightning, and they  are fourth in population. On average, 10 people die each year from lightning. Statistics show that teenage boys are most vulnerable. People in their 30's are the next most likely victims, followed by those in their 20's. Florida's unique location, surrounded by warm water, provides the necessary ingredients for thunderstorms to form.   According to a NASA study, there are areas in the tropics of Africa, Asia, and South and Central America that have more lightning then Florida does. Rwanda, a country in Africa, is known as the lightning capital of the world. 

Interesting !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th Aug 2022. 

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