Guerilla downpours in Japan


In the last ten years or so it seems that sudden and difficult to forecast thunderstorms have increased; they have been named guerilla downpours, and this survey from Weather News looked at awareness of such storms.

The average guerilla storm will brew up in an hour or so, often going from bright daylight to night-like darkness and accompanied by a 5 to 10 degrees Celsius temperature drop, before dumping from about 50mm to over 100mm of rain in an hour.

Many Japanese, including my wife, seem over-anxious about lightning; I grew up where lightning was rare, then first experienced a serious electrical storm in France, which I watched with a beer in my hand from a hotel terrace, but now I’m not even allowed to look out the window…

Here’s some thunder and lightning everyone loves – Kaminari (thunder/lightning) Gate at Sensouji Temple in Asakusa. The large lantern guarded by the God of Lightning is a gift from Matsushita (now Panasonic) Electrical, and the very first product of the company was an adapter for light sockets that provided a plug along with the bulb, so might say the God of Lightning is guarding a gift from the God of Lighting.

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8% of Japanese have been hit by lightning

Ever had your home PC fried by lightning? graph of japanese opinionAs the rainy season finally finishes and the real summer season starts, the probability of lightning strikes increases. With this in mind, published the results of a survey by goo Research into computers and lightning. Between the 21st and 23th of July they got 1,084 successfully completed responses to their internet-based questionnaire. In the sample 53.5% were female, 22.7% in their twenties, 39.7% in their thirties, 24.9% in their forties, 10.0% in their fifties, and 2.7% in their sixties.

Note that the headline is a bit of a stretch on the truth, but I’ve got limited space and want to keep it snappy! I love lightning myself, and I have many fond memories of sitting in the evening cool on terraces in Southern France or Austria watching huge storms firing bolts into the surrounding hillsides. Conversely, wifey is extremely wary of them, and as soon as she hears a rumble of thunder, it’s off with the TV and air conditioner until the storm passes.

However, I am rather sceptical about the 20% who say they are unaware that lightning can damage electronics! Was there something odd in the wording of the question?
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