Climate fanatics are claiming that a lightning strike in Washington, D.C. near the White House that killed three people was a “warning” about increased lightning strikes due to global warming.

Is that even possible? Can it really be determined if one bolt of lightning on one spot on earth at one moment in time was the result of a warming planet?

Well, sure. If you suspend belief in reality and deny scientific facts. The odds of anyone getting struck by lightning are about one in a million, so what do you suppose the odds are of getting struck by lightning caused by climate change?

But Reuters tries its best to prove the impossible. “Washington DC lightning strike that killed three offers climate warning,” reads the headline. Never let it be said that Reuters didn’t warn you about being outside during a violent thunderstorm lest the global warming goblin gets you.

The hot, humid conditions in Washington, D.C., on Thursday were primed for electricity. Air temperatures topped out at 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) – or 5F (3C) higher than the 30-year normal maximum temperature for Aug. 4, according to the National Weather Service.

More heat can draw more moisture into the atmosphere, while also encouraging rapid updraft – two key factors for charged particles, which lead to lightning. A key study released in 2014 in the journal Science warned that the number of lightning strikes could increase by 50% in this century in the United States, with each 1 C (1.8 F) of warming translating into a 12% rise in the number of lightning strikes.

It’s a fascinating physics lesson, but why the “warning” about climate change killing people with lightning strikes? More lightning strikes due to climate change might be provable, but again, how can it be shown that one lightning strike at Lafayette Square, just north of the White House, in the early evening on Thursday caused the tragic deaths of three people?

The idea of global warming being the cause of Washington, D.C.’s oppressive heat and humidity is an interesting hypothesis. Unfortunately for Reuters, the oppressive heat and humidity have been present in the area for a couple of million years. Washington’s “climate change” happened long ago.

Fast-warming Alaska has seen a 17% rise in lightning activity since the cooler 1980s. And in typically dry California, a siege of some 14,000 lightning strikes during August 2020 sparked some of the state’s biggest wildfires on record.

Beyond the United States, there is evidence that lightning strikes are also shooting up in India and Brazil.

But even as lightning strikes increase, being hit by one is still extremely rare in the United States, experts say. Roughly 40 million lightning bolts touch down in the country every year, according to the Center for Disease Control – with the odds of being struck less than 1 in a million.

It would be interesting to perform a survey of readers to see who really believes that the unfortunate people killed in the lightning strike died — or even possibly died — as a result of climate change causing excess lightning strikes.

It might be pretty close to the number of readers who believe in Santa Claus.

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