300+ Reindeer Killed in Lightning Strike in Norway

Nature is a serious lady.  This is a bummer of a story, but it shows the power that Mother Nature harnesses with respect to light, in this case in the form of lightning.

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Last Friday (26 August 2016) in a large thunderstorm system in a private game reserve in Norway, an estimated 323 reindeer were killed in a lightning strike.  From WaPo reporter Karin Brulliard on the story:

The 323 reindeer were killed by lightning Friday, the agency said, in a rare natural massacre that counts as the deadliest lightning strike on record. It took place in a private hunting area of the Hardangervidda mountain plateau in central southern Norway, a verdant and frigid tableau of streams, rocks and glaciers that is home to one of the largest reindeer herds in Europe.

Officials told Agence France-Presse that a gamekeeper stumbled upon the eerie scene Friday and that 70 young reindeer were among the victims. Five animals had to be euthanized, said officials, who told the news service that they were not sure what they would do with the bodies. The gamekeeper told NTB, the Norwegian news service, that samples of the carcasses were sent to a state veterinary institute, which would officially determine the cause of death.
“We’ve never seen anything like this on this scale,” agency official Kjartan Knutsen said.” There were very strong storms in the area on Friday. The animals stay close together in bad weather and these ones were hit by lightning.”

There is some flyover video of the scene — it’s not gruesome or bloody or anything, but please know it’s ghastly:

Nature, you are a cruel mistress sometimes, huh.

Angela Chen, science writer for The Verge, et al, interviewed John Jensenius at NOAA to talk about the phenomenon of mass animal deaths attributed to lightning strikes like this.  Angela, this was a great read!  Y’all need to check out her writing!

Angela Chen:
First, how likely is it that it really was lightning that killed those reindeer? Is there a way to know without having seen the strike directly?

John Jensenius:
It isn’t that unusual to see farm animals, or wild animals such as reindeer, being killed by lightning. Of course, 323 is a rather large number, though we’ve seen reports of 654 sheep being killed in one spot.

Animals do tend to group together in storms and huddle under trees. If lightning strikes the tree or somewhere nearby, the entire group can be killed. We don’t know how common this is because it’s hard to track, though usually it’s herds of 10 or 20 animals that get killed.

In the case where the animals are huddling under a tree, oftentimes you’ll see some visible signs on the tree, though you may not see any visible signs on the animals themselves. In this case, it’s hard to know where lightning struck based on the pictures, but there may be an animal among the dead animals that has visible signs, like a bit of charring on the skin.

Angela Chen:
How did lightning kill all of those reindeer at once? Did they need to be touching for this to happen?

John Jensenius:
When animals or people are in groups, most are being killed by the ground current. First, there’s a direct strike — this is what most people think of when they think of lightning — that hits the tree or maybe the ground nearby. The energy then spreads along the ground surface, and if you’re anywhere near that lightning strike, you absorb it and get shocked.

Lightning goes up one leg and down another. Animals are more vulnerable because their legs are spread out more, so the ground currents travel more easily in their bodies. It doesn’t matter if they’re touching, or exactly how close they are, it matters that they were all in the area hit by lightning. Ground currents are the thing that’s responsible for the most lightning deaths and injuries in both people and animals.

Angela Chen:
How far can the ground current travel? When are you safe?

John Jensenius:
That’s one question we’re often asked, and it’s a difficult question because it depends on a lot of factors, including the strength of the actual lightning strike.

In this case, the animals seem to be in an area that was 50 to 80 feet in diameter and on a hillside, which gives you some idea that lightning can travel a good distance and still be deadly. Lightning doesn’t always travel deep into the ground.

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Angela Chen:
What exactly is it about lightning that kills these animals?

John Jensenius:
It’s the electricity going into your body. It passes through the nervous system and your nerves, and the deadly part is that it stops the heart. In the case of people, many can be revived with CPR if tended to immediately but with reindeer, it just would have stopped their hearts.

Angela Chen:
What are some other types of lightning besides the ground current and the direct strike?

John Jensenius:
There’s the side flash. That’s when an animal or person is standing close to the tree, the tree is hit by lightning, and then the lightning jumps from tree to person or animal. The side flash usually kills one or a small number of animals, not large ones like with ground currents.

There’s also something called a “wall conduction,” which is when something plugged into the wall is a direct connection to a wire outside. So if the wire outside is struck, the lightning will follow the wire and you can be shocked.

Angela Chen:
Are lightning fatalities, in people at least, going down?

John Jensenius:
Yes, they’ve been dropping over recent years. If you go back over the 1930s and 1940s, we had about 300 to 400 people killed every year in the United States. Nowadays, our 10-year average is about 31 people per year. This year so far we’ve had 32.

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Research and hat tips:

Angela Chen, of course!  https://twitter.com/chengela

http://www.theverge.com/users/angelachen

http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/29/12690402/lightning-strike-kills-norway-reindeer-death-why-science

http://wric.com/2016/08/29/lightning-strike-kills-more-than-300-reindeer-during-one-storm/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37214288

http://www.sciencealert.com/a-lightning-strike-just-killed-300-reindeer-in-norway

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/08/29/a-lightning-strike-killed-323-reindeer-and-this-is-the-ghastly-aftermath/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/more-300-reindeer-killed-lightning-norway-095020805.html

 

 

Incredible Photos of the San Clarita Valley Wildfire

A few weeks ago in the Sand Canyon/San Clarita Valley, south of Los Angeles, a wildfire pretty much gutted the valley — homes destroyed, property, vehicles, just pure havoc.

This was quite an unfortunate fire; there are a very intriguing set of photographs of this fire, shot by David McNew of Getty Images.  I think he really captured the heat and misery of this fire, in an incredibly amber and dark series of photographs.  Check them out below.

Firefighters of the Texas Canyon Hotshot crew fight the Sand Fire at a residential golf course on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California. Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Firefighters of the Texas Canyon Hotshot crew fight the Sand Fire at a residential golf course on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California.
Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of hand crew rest on a hillside near Placenta Canyon Road as a wildfire burns in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, July 24, 2016. Thousands of homes remained evacuated Sunday as two massive wildfires raged in tinder-dry California hills and canyons. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Members of hand crew rest on a hillside near Placenta Canyon Road as a wildfire burns in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, July 24, 2016. Thousands of homes remained evacuated Sunday as two massive wildfires raged in tinder-dry California hills and canyons. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

A car covered in aerially-applied fire retardant remains parked in Ruthspring Dr., in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Sunday, July 24, 2016. Two massive wildfires raged in tinder-dry California hills and canyons Sunday, leaving thousands of homes evacuated and authorities to investigate a burned body found in a neighborhood swept by flames. Firefighters have been trying to beat back a fire since Friday that has blackened more than 34 square miles of brush on ridgelines near the city of Santa Clarita and the Angeles National Forest. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)

A car covered in aerially-applied fire retardant remains parked in Ruthspring Dr., in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Sunday, July 24, 2016. Two massive wildfires raged in tinder-dry California hills and canyons Sunday, leaving thousands of homes evacuated and authorities to investigate a burned body found in a neighborhood swept by flames. Firefighters have been trying to beat back a fire since Friday that has blackened more than 34 square miles of brush on ridgelines near the city of Santa Clarita and the Angeles National Forest. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)

A firefighter with the Texas Canyon Hotshot crew lights a backfire near homes to fight the Sand Fire on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California. Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

A firefighter with the Texas Canyon Hotshot crew lights a backfire near homes to fight the Sand Fire on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California.
Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

TOPSHOT - Residents flee their home as flames from the Sand Fire close in on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California. Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Residents flee their home as flames from the Sand Fire close in on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California.
Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

A firefighting helicopter makes a drop at Fair Oaks Canyon during the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita, California on July 24, 2016. Triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions are fueling the wildfire, which has burned across at least 22,000 acres so far and is only 10 percent contained. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

A firefighting helicopter makes a drop at Fair Oaks Canyon during the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita, California on July 24, 2016.
Triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions are fueling the wildfire, which has burned across at least 22,000 acres so far and is only 10 percent contained. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Inmate handcrew firefighters shield themselves from embers and heavy smoke as flames close in on houses at the Sand Fire on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California. Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Inmate handcrew firefighters shield themselves from embers and heavy smoke as flames close in on houses at the Sand Fire on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California.
Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

SANTA CLARITA, CA - JULY 24: Firefighters are forced to retreat as flame close in on them in Placerita Canyon at the Sand Fire on July 24, 2016 in Santa Clarita, California. Triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions are fueling the wildfire, which has burned across at least 22,000 acres so far and is only 10% contained. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

SANTA CLARITA, CA – JULY 24: Firefighters are forced to retreat as flame close in on them in Placerita Canyon at the Sand Fire on July 24, 2016 in Santa Clarita, California. Triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions are fueling the wildfire, which has burned across at least 22,000 acres so far and is only 10% contained. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

A firefighter reaches for the door of his truck as flames close in on homes at the Sand Fire on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California. Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

A firefighter reaches for the door of his truck as flames close in on homes at the Sand Fire on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California.
Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

A firefighting helicopter makes a drop at Fair Oaks Canyon during the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita, California on July 24, 2016. Triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions are fueling the wildfire, which has burned across at least 22,000 acres so far and is only 10 percent contained. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

A firefighting helicopter makes a drop at Fair Oaks Canyon during the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita, California on July 24, 2016.
Triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions are fueling the wildfire, which has burned across at least 22,000 acres so far and is only 10 percent contained. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Los Angeles County firefighters pause to fight the flames due to erratic winds in Placenta Caynon Road in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, July 24, 2016. Flames raced down a steep hillside "like a freight train," leaving smoldering remains of homes and warnings that more communities should be ready to flee the wildfire churning through tinder-dry canyons in Southern California, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)

Los Angeles County firefighters pause to fight the flames due to erratic winds in Placenta Caynon Road in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, July 24, 2016. Flames raced down a steep hillside “like a freight train,” leaving smoldering remains of homes and warnings that more communities should be ready to flee the wildfire churning through tinder-dry canyons in Southern California, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 23: A view of the ash and smoke cloud from the sand fire originating in Santa Clarita, California on July 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 23: A view of the ash and smoke cloud from the sand fire originating in Santa Clarita, California on July 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Sand Fire Burns in Santa Clarita on July 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 22: Sand Fire Burns in Santa Clarita on July 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Firefighters of the Texas Canyon Hotshot crew fight the Sand Fire at a residential golf course on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California. Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Firefighters of the Texas Canyon Hotshot crew fight the Sand Fire at a residential golf course on July 23 2016 near Santa Clarita, California.
Fueled by temperatures reaching about 108 degrees fahrenheit, the wildfire began yesterday has grown to 11,000 acres. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

42 People Injured at Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa Show

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42 people were confirmed to have been injured this weekend at a Snoop Dogg and Whiz Khalifa show in Camden, New Jersey at the BB&T Pavilion.  The tour is the Merry Jane Presents Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa: The High Road Tour — which is still kicking.  Reports from the scene said no one was killed in the ten foot fall onto concrete, but there were a few pretty serious injuries.

A spokesman from city of Camden said the venue is all up-to-date on all inspections and has no outstanding violations.

This is crazy video — it’s like a waterfall of people happened.

From New Jersey:

A railing collapse at a concert headlined by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa at BB&T Pavilion injured at least 42 people, authorities said.

The collapse occurred just before 10:30 p.m. when one of the railings on a platform in front of the stage snapped, according to Camden County police. It is unclear at this time what caused it to break.

The injured fans, many of whom had piled on top of each other, were taken to area hospitals, police said. Some fans fell 10 feet onto a concrete walkway below.

According to Camden County Police spokesman Dan Keashen, one person was in serious but stable condition after suffering from an upper-body injury.

The injured person was taken to Cooper University Hospital.

Other injuries included broken bones, according to authorities.

The artists were escorted off the stage after the collapse, and organizers halted the concert about 20 minutes after the railing collapse.

Snoop Dog or Wiz Khalifa was on the secondary stage at the venue at the time of the collapse and was gesturing people to move toward the stage on the lawn and when fans rushed toward the railing, it snapped and collapsed, according to Keashen.

Crazy.  Check this out:

Another angle:

Accident Aftermath with first-responders:

From Philly.com:

Rhonda Wexler, a Cooper University Hospital spokeswoman, said Saturday that the hospital received 20 patients with minor injuries, who were all treated and released. She said one patient had to go to the trauma unit, but that was only because all beds in the adjacent emergency department were taken, and not because of the person’s injuries.

No one was seriously injured, she said. She did not have any information on the types of minor injuries people suffered.

Carol Lynn Daly, spokeswoman for Lourdes Medical Center, said seven people were brought there in stable condition and were all treated and released.

Peggy Leone, a Virtua Camden spokeswoman, said four people were treated there and released. A spokeswoman at Kennedy, Nicole Pensiero, confirmed that three people were treated and released there for minor injuries.

Keashen said his understanding was that Snoop Dogg or Wiz Khalifa, who were on a secondary stage at the venue, was gesturing to people on the lawn to come toward the stage. That’s when people rushed toward the railing and the railing collapsed.

The Camden County Sheriff’s Office is investigating with assistance from the Camden County Police Department, Keashen said.

Hat tips:

http://www.people.com/article/snoop-dogg-wiz-khalifa-concert-injuries-42

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/08/railing_collapse_at_snoop_dogg_concert_injures_doz.html

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160806_Snoop_Dogg_concert_stops_shortly_after_railing_collapse.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/06/entertainment/snoop-dogg-concert-injuries/

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/7461804/snoop-dogg-wiz-khalifa-concert-railing-collapse-video

http://www.bet.com/music/2016/08/06/snoop-dogg-wiz-khalifa.html