Weather Watch: The dangers of lightning

Lightning strikes Ivinghoe Beacon
Lightning strikes Ivinghoe Beacon

There has been some very interesting and dangerous weather across the Aylesbury Vale over the past week.

You will no doubt remember last Wednesday, when almost unprecedented heat swarmed out of northern France to bring parts of south-east England its hottest July day on record.

Warmest of all was Heathrow which reached a baking 36.7C but, even across our area, the mercury climbed in excess of 34C.

After a cooler Thursday, the heat and humidity returned on Friday and, this time, the energy released on Friday night and generated huge thunderstorms.

Aylesbury itself missed the worst of the storms which passed over at around 1am on Saturday morning, but nearby Tring and Ivinghoe saw more intense storms with 10mm of rain in just a few minutes.

As well as being a meteorologist, I’m also a keen storm chaser, having observed storms in Europe and the USA.

On Friday night, I ventured to Ivinghoe Beacon in the hope of capturing some lightning photography.

The storm was over 10 miles away, still very distant, when the unthinkable happened.

A huge lightning strike arced the 10 miles between the storm and my location, striking the ground within 30 feet of where I was standing.

The intense heat, the ear-splitting thunder and the powerful shockwave were immense.

With news of lightning fatalities from Wales on Sunday, I consider myself very lucky; a very real demonstration of the dangers of lightning.

It will be much cooler over the next couple of days with a northerly breeze but Thursday is still looking fine.

It looks set to turn very warm again on Friday and into the weekend, possibly even hot, but with the risk of isolated storms on Sunday.