Science, Nature and Tech

Lightning Never Strikes Twice

Continuing our Fact or Fable series, today we take a look at the saying ‘Lightning never strikes twice’, with our Science Editor Samantha Gouldson investigating.

Lightning forms when excess amounts of positive and negative electric charge build up in storm clouds. This causes sparks, kind of like static electricity. Sometimes the sparks jump between the clouds but often they jump between the clouds and the ground.

It’s not just thunderstorms that have lightning either; snow storms, sand storms and even the clouds produced by erupting volcanoes can all cause lightning.


The idea that lightning doesn’t strike twice is a popular saying but one that it’s easy to disprove.

Structures that are taller than their surrounding landscape are usually struck by lightning more than lower objects; so church towers, tall trees and skyscrapers are all likely to have lightning strikes more than once.

lightning empire state


The Empire State Building in New York is struck by lightning more than 100 times each year! One bolt of lightning can even strike more than one thing at a time, with forked lightning sometimes hitting three or four different objects or areas.

Looks like the saying that lightning doesn’t strike twice is




Featured Image by Kim Seng, via Flickr

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Sam has worked as a forensic scientist as well as for the British government, and has degrees in both archaeology and osteoarchaeology. She has 2 children, is passionate about science, reading, history and music, and loves dyeing her hair bright colours!

Sam blogs about all kinds of science at
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