A huge bang was heard off the coast of Scheveningen around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. According to Weather Radar, it was caused by “the most dangerous kind of lightning in the world.”
An analysis shows that the lightning had an extremely high amperage: 267,000. That is close to the maximum of 300,000 amps for this type of lightning and ten times as much as a normal lightning strike. By way of comparison: from a socket comes about 230 volts with a maximum of 16 amps.
What characterizes these discharges is the enormous bang they accompany. "If it hits really close, it can feel like a bomb has hit somewhere. Many people in The Hague and surroundings will have heard the blow.
A thundercloud is negatively charged at the bottom and positive at the top. If the voltage difference of a cloud becomes large enough, current will start to flow: lightning. In 90 to 95 percent of the cases, this happens via a so-called negative discharge, according to Weather Radar.
5 to 10 percent of lightning strikes are “positive lightning,” the most dangerous kind. These do not strike under the storm, but next to the storm. The top of the thunderstorm is positively charged and the earth next to the thunderstorm negative. A current can also start to flow between them, and if this happens, it is a so-called positive lightning.
In that case, the distance that lightning has to travel through the air is many times greater, so that more energy is needed. The same happened with the impact in the sea just before Scheveningen on Saturday afternoon: the real shower was still hanging over land, but lightning struck over the sea.
The Scheveningen harbor lighthouse was affected by the strike but soon resumed operation on the emergency generator.