The city of Hong Kong had its old record for lightning strikes in an hour atomized by an incredible storm that rolled through last week. The record breaking storm was one of the most incredible sights (and sounds) since 2007 when the previous record was recorded. But does this lightning record truly deserve a place among the great storms of the world?
Hundred mile per hour winds, lightning streaking through the sky at a rate of one per three and a half seconds, power boxes blowing up – these are the images of last week’s storm that rolled through Hong Kong. Those who witnessed the event might have compared it to the end of the world. But have there been other lightning storms to compare?
Lightning is a force that can be surprisingly difficult to analyze. Though traditional thunder storms have lightning striking the ground or some other object and creating a loud boom and rumble in the ground, many lightning storms go by for several minutes without making a sound. These electrical storms can be difficult to measure at times.
On average, the most struck continent in the world is generally considered Africa, which sees 158 lightning strikes per square kilometer per year. Second place goes to South America, which gets approximately 110 lightning strikes per square mile per year. Europe gets only 28 strikes per square mile annually, and the US doubles that plus three with 59 strikes every square mile per year. So given the size of these places, is it possible for so many strikes of lightning to hit an area as small as Hong Kong?
First, let’s take into account the fact that Hong Kong is actually a fairly large city. The square mileage is actually somewhere around 428 total. But even taking this into consideration, the city would have been struck on average 30 times per square mile in a single hour. Since Asia is struck somewhere around 87 times per mile in the span of a year, this means the area around Hong Kong reached a third of its quota 8,760 times faster than it normally would. Is lightning striking the city more than it used to?
The tremendous storm was no doubt far more powerful than it normally would have been under different circumstances. In fact, the storm was so powerful many maintenance companies are still scrambling to keep up with the damage incurred on the beautiful city’s many historic buildings and venues.
And the lightning wasn’t the only thing lighting up the sky that night. A mysterious formation of unidentified flying objects emitting an eerie glow was also spotted by witnesses who suggested they may have somehow been related to the recent dramatic sightings sweeping the nation. Is it possible the UFOs were there to enjoy the storm? Did their mission call for interference with the storm? Or were they rather misidentified flying objects of conventional origin? Between the UFOs and the lightning storm, it was an incredible night in Hong Kong.