Rising From The Ashes - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Rising From The Ashes

A lightning strike from Tropical Storm Irene burned it all down two years ago, but now Richard Branson's Caribbean resort can be yours for just $50,000 A NIGHT. 

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet had to carry Sir Richard's 90-year-old-mother, Eve, to safety when flames tore through the home on Necker Island. 

The house is now ready for guests.  It has been remodeled to the original design. 

The private home has eight guest rooms, and up to 30 adults can stay. 

Yes, it's amazing. 

But why is this a blog topic?  Well, it's another example of what Mother Nature can do.  Lightning starts about 4400 house fires each year, costing somewhere around $283 million in damages. 

Sometimes a lightning strike can lead to a massive fire.  Other times, it can lead to minor damage.  Why?

Every lightning strike has the potential to start a fire.  But some flashes are more likely than others to cause ignition. 

Most lightning strikes have one or more return strokes.  Then there are some flashes that have a continuous flow of electricity, which is called a continuing current.  In a continuing current, the charge flows continuously over a longer period of time.  The longer period of charge flow causes the struck object to heat up and possibly ignite. 

Experts say there are several different ways that a house fire can be caused by lightning.  It really depends on the type of structure and location. 

The most common is a fire in the attic or roof.  This is where lightning dries the wood and then ignites it. 

Lightning will usually strike the highest point.  So sometimes lightning will strike a tree that is close to a home.  The tree will burst into flames, and this will catch the house on fire. 

Some say the only effective method of prevention is a properly installed lightning rod grounding system. 

Lightning rods protect a building from catching fire, not from electrical surges.  They also don't decrease your chances of getting struck.  They simply provide a path for the electricity to reach the ground more safely.  Lightning hits the rod instead of the building.  When the lightning strikes, the electricity then moves to the ground.  They are, however, not 100 percent effective.  



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