Portable lightning detector

by Paz

Portable lightning detector

The stormy season’s coming soon in many regions of the globe. If you order one of these lightning detector gadgets now, it should arrive in time to make a difference. A few seconds before the lightning bolt strikes, an audible alarm sounds and an LED glows, giving you time to say; “oh sh*t!” before it hits you.

Nah just kidding!

The lightning detector can detect storm activity from over 40 miles away and displays an audible warning to start with. An LED lights up when the storm is within the 20 to 40 mile range. Other LEDs light up when the storm approached between 12 to 24 miles and 6 to 12 miles. When the “less than 6 miles” LED lights up, it’s time to start making plans for your safety.

I’m sure many you have heard about the unfortunate Jason Bunch, the 17 year old from Colorado who was reportedly hit by lightning whilst wearing an iPod.  It’s possible that his iPod somehow acted as a conduit for the lighting. He certainly had severe burns to his ear and neck.

A few weeks ago I read an article in the Guardian Unlimited’s Technology section, which covered a story in the British Medical Journal about the dangers of portable gadgets such as cell phones and music players during a thunderstorm.

The study cited anecdotal stories of serious injuries and fatalities thought to be caused by people using portable electronic equipment in contact with the skin when they were hit by lightning. A lightning strike can be painful and debilitating, but isn’t usually fatal. The resistance of the human skin means that the lightning will pass over you – something called a flashover. The study suggested that the conducting materials inside electronic goods however, can somehow act as a focus for the lighting leaving the wearer with severe internal injuries; possibly life-threatening ones. The study also pointed out that in Australia people are advised to remove ALL metallic or conducting objects from their person during a lightning storm. I guess that includes watches, belt buckles etc. Bear it in mind!

The lightning detector is available from Wind and Weather for $80.

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