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Is it possible during the same storm for lightning to hit the same place twice? Say hitting a large tree twice or within a reasonable area?

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    Actually, a single "stroke" of lightning is often composed of a number of pulses, so the question is kind of moot. However, as noted, certain high and/or conductive objects get hit constantly. – M. Werner Apr 20 '11 at 0:34
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    I suspect that this is saying based on the law of probabilities. If p(the probability of an event occurring once) is small, then p^2(the probability of an event occurring twice) is even smaller. Of course, like all "laws" based on probability, it's certainly not infallible. (Like people living after falling 20 floors, which is very improbable but happens.) Out in the wild, where the environment is kind of uniform, the probability of lightning hidden some given spot is indeed small and this "law" will probably hold true(unless you wait for a million years or so). Out in cities, lightning rods h – apoorv020 Apr 20 '11 at 7:53
  • Lightning rods would be pretty useless if this was true... – John Dvorak Mar 1 at 11:04
  • @JohnDvorak I think per storm is the important idea here – Andrey Mar 8 at 21:18
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Unless the lightning destroys the object so there's nothing left to hit, there is no physical reason for lightning not to hit the same place twice. The Empire State Building is a nice example of this. Here is a video where it's hit thrice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKMdYbOfFzI

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    even if it destroys what it hits, it could still hit on the exact same geographic coordinates again :) – jwenting Apr 20 '11 at 10:15
  • Sure. I just added this for fun :D – Lagerbaer Apr 20 '11 at 13:55
  • No that's right ! For instance if the lighting destroys the Earth or if the lighting destroys the storm... – Pierre Watelet Apr 27 '11 at 14:54
  • This should really be a comment... – Sklivvz Apr 28 '11 at 14:50
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    My answer came before the other one with the many pictures; the question asks specifically about lightning hitting twice in the same storm, which the video link I provided demonstrates. Not sure why you think it should be a comment. – Lagerbaer Apr 28 '11 at 16:22
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Empire state building 1
(source: dailymail.co.uk)

Empire state building 2
(source: umwblogs.org)

Empire 3
(source: noaa.gov)

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    nice photos, but not technically a full answer unless you have timestamps for all photos (the different light conditions are some indication, but not conclusive as these can be created using filters) :) – jwenting Apr 20 '11 at 8:22
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    @jwenting - I second that, nice pictures, but only a part answer, but still... nice pictures. – going Apr 20 '11 at 9:49
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    @jwentig Notice also the different shape. – Jakub Hampl Apr 20 '11 at 13:12
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    Combine this with Lagerbear's answer, and we have a winner. – JasonR Apr 20 '11 at 13:34
  • @JakubHampl that can be explained by different camera angles, possibly (haven't tried raytracing the combined lightning bolt to generate a 3D representation of its path through the atmosphere). – jwenting Oct 4 '13 at 1:53

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