Photo of the week: When lightning strikes


A Ghent photographer caught lightening striking his city, as the first thunder storm in weeks fell on Flanders

30,000 lightning events

Flanders provided a dramatic show on Tuesday night when thunder, lightning and rain finally arrived following weeks of soaring temperatures and unusually dry weather. The lightning was especially impressive, with more than 30,000 occurrences across the country.

How do we know this? Because the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium has equipment that counts lightening events.

Lightening sends out electromagnetic waves, much like radio waves, the institute explained to De Standaard. Its equipment can determine which waves are lightning and record each one.

Although 30,000 events seems like a lot, it wasn’t an inordinate amount for a thunder storm in Belgium. The record was in July 1999, when lightning occurred – either in the form of bolts to the earth or between clouds – twice that many times.

Two lightning bolts that evening went straight into people’s homes in Flanders. Fire departments in both Tielt, West Flanders, and Tervuren put out roof fires caused by lightning. No one was injured in either incident, but the family in Tielt cannot occupy the home until repairs are carried out.

In Deerlijk, West Flanders, several houses lost electricity due to lightning strikes.

Photo: Photographer Yves Masscho catches lightning strikes over Ghent