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Question: Lightning rarely strikes skyscrapers.
Answer: Lightning often strikes the tallest point in a given area, including tall buildings. The Empire State Building in New York City, for instance, is struck about two dozen times per year.
Question: Ice crystals help produce lightning.
Answer: Near the top of the storm clouds called thunderheads are ice crystals. These carry a positive electrical charge that helps trigger lightning below.
Question: A bolt of lightning could light a city, if harvested.
Answer: An average bolt of lightning packs more than fifteen million volts of electricity— enough to light one million light bulbs.
Question: Lightning strikes only once.
Answer: Lightning can strike the same place many times in a single storm. The higher the point, the more likely it is to be hit.
Question: An umbrella offers protection against lightning.
Answer: An umbrella is a portable, hand-held shade for protection against rain or intense sunlight. It does not protect against lightning.
Question: Lightning seldom strikes houses.
Answer: Lightning often strikes houses, which is why lightning rods are so important. In the United States, the odds are that any given house will be hit once in 200 years.
Question: Lightning is good for agriculture.
Answer: Lightning helps convert nitrogen into a weak nitric acid in combination with water. This forms nitrates, an important source of nourishment for plants.
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