Singapore lightening capital of the world:
In the early hours (around 4:00am) on 21st July 2016, my sleep was awakened by a series of thunderstorm and lightening strikes. So fierce it was that one of them tripped our house power switch. Initially i mistook it as power failure entire block or campus. But then realized it was only in my apartment, so went up and nervously put the power switch back on.
Singapore, with 171-186 lightening days per year, is known as the lightening capital of the world! That makes it lightening and thunder happening every alternate day, on an average. Each square kilometer of land in Singapore can be struck up to 16 times annually, with no pattern on months to expect. This is because in Singapore, there are no rain free months and whenever the city country gets intense inter-monsoon conditions, one can experience lightening.
Local architecture and landscape photographer Darren Soh, 40, had captured a stunning composite image of Singapore lightening. It showed intense lightening activity – an image layered with 12 photos shot just under a one-hour period from his Sembawang apartment. It got 43K social media likes, 14K shares, published in international newspapers, a BBC interview and honourable Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself posting it with the words “Singapore is a lightening capital of the world, but few photos have captured it as strikingly as this composite by Darren Soh” .
Singapore lightening incidents/damages:
Here’s list of incidents/damages in recent years at Singapore.
- In May 2016, a lightening strike during a heavy thunderstorm was suspected to have crippled an SMRT train which inconvenienced commuters.
- In 2008, a couple were struck by lightening off Punggol jetty in the afternoon, but survived.
- In 2009, the Merlion statue in Marina Bay was hit by a lightening strike and suffered a hole the size of the football. The attraction was closed for few days for repair work.
- In 2011, one man was killed and He & his companion got injured after lightening struck them while canoeing at Pasir Ris Park.
Singapore safety measures against lightening:
An average lightening strike carries a current of up to 200,000 amps. In comparison, a 100-watt bulb carries a current of about 0.4 amp. This explains, why rubber sole shoes, rain coats etc are a myth in terms of protecting from lightening strikes. Singapore’s stringent codes for lightening protection have ensured minimal deaths due to the same. Most public places in Singapore are protected.
Devices are fitted to the top of floodlight towers at stadiums, buildings, observation towers and other structures meant to house people to shield from lightening. Public swimming pools are equipped with lightening rods. Gazebos in parks have metal roofs and are “earthed” with thick metal strips to make them lightening-proof. Golf courses have siren warnings while rooftop bars, beaches and outdoor events are also instructed to check on the thunderstorm forecasts & ideally have lightening detection equipment.
Individual safety measures to take during lightening and thunderstorm:
– Take shelter inside houses, large buildings or cars. Close windows and do not touch the metal components which are exposed to outside.
– Avoid large, open areas, below trees and high ground. Spread out, if in a group.
– If no structure is available in open areas, head for the lowest point and crouch down as low as possible. Do not lie flat on the ground.
– Remove jewellery and metallic objects on your body as they conduct electricity and can burn you
– If in an open water body, head for a shore and then look for shelter.
– Stay off metallic objects – bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts, trees, towers, poles, fences, pipes and rails.
– Do not touch explosive or inflammable materials, power sockets or switched on electrical appliances
– Avoid taking a shower or bath; plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
– Don’t use corded telephone unless emergency; cordless and mobile phones are safe to use.