More Than 100 Lightning Strikes Recorded During Thunderstorm
More than 100 lightning strikes were recorded in Southwest Iceland Wednesday night, RÚV reports. They were accompanied by thunderstorms around the village of Þorlákshöfn.
Both thunder and lightning are relatively rare occurrences in Iceland, although there was also a notable thunderstorm in the capital area earlier this year. According to the lightning advisory on Iceland’s Civil Defense Office’s website, it’s estimated that there are between 250 and 600 lightning flashes a year in the whole country. By comparison, the world’s “principal lightning hotspot,” i.e. the southern end of a single lake (Lake Maracaibo) in Venezuela, experiences 232.52 flashes of lightning per square kilometre per year.
Because thunderstorms are so rare, special effort is generally made to advise the public about safety measures during storms. Elín Björk Jónsdóttir, a meteorologist with the Icelandic Met Office, posted about the proliferation of lightning strikes on Facebook on Wednesday night, noting that people should stay out of pools and hot pots during the storm, and seek shelter if they are outside in the area.
“Icelanders, however, find me very irritating when I point out that they should get out of hot tubs and swimming pools during a thunderstorm,” added Elín Björk. “One even told me nobody else in the entire world does that.”
Meteorologist Óli Þór Árnason noted that the majority of the lightning strikes occurred outside of residential areas—a relief, in that there aren’t great protections in place against lightning in Iceland, such as surge protectors. This means that a lightning strike too close to a town or home can do a lot of damage to home appliances.