In Australia, about 10 people die each year from lightning strikes.  A hundred more gets injured each year.  To be safe, at the first signs of visual lightning or audible thunder - go indoors.  No place outdoors is safe.

How about lightning strikes on commercial planes?  Is it safe to fly in lightning?

Commercial planes are hit by lightning daily and designed to take lightning strikes.  Lightning typically strikes a relatively sharp edge of a plane, like a wingtip or nose, and the current exits via the tail. This happens because an aircraft’s body acts as a Faraday cage.

A Faraday cage operates because an external electrical field causes the electric charges within the cage's conducting material to be distributed such that they cancel the field's effect in the cage's interior. When a lightning strikes an airplane, the energy and electric charge run around the outside of the vessel, protecting the interior from any voltage.

Therefore from a safety standpoint, lightning strikes on commercial planes are not a severe problem compared to turbulence or hail damage which can cause more catastrophic consequences.

Lightning flashes behind a Qantas plane, as captured from La Perouse on October 2015. Photo: Daniel Shaw

Offshore Weather Services (OWS) predicts average to below average frequency of Tropical Cyclones over the Australian Region for the 2014/15 Tropical Cyclone Season.  Neutral El Nińo Southern Oscillation conditions are expected to persist, with weak El Nińo conditions possible early to mid season.  These conditions should cause about or slightly below average frequency of Tropical Cyclones over the region, about 5-10 expected, with 2-7 becoming Severe Tropical Cyclones.  Slightly fewer coastal impacts are also expected.

Request the detailed outlook here

The download link will be sent to the email address provided below.

Company

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

2013WP31_4KMIRIMG_201311061830

Super Typhoon HAIYAN 6 November 2013 approaching Philippines.

Offshore Weather Services predicts 24 tropical cyclones over the NW Pacific region in the 2014 Tropical Cyclone Season, which is close to normal. About 9 tropical cyclones are expected to affect the South China Sea, which is below climate average. The TC intensities are expected to be above normal compared to the climate average during the 2014 TC Season.

Request the detailed outlook here

The download link will be sent to the email address provided below.

Company

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)