São José dos Campos, São Paulo - Quinta, 22 de março de 2018
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Natural phenomena
Brazil, lightning’s world champion
Nowhere else on the planet is hit by more lightning than Brazil.  It kills about 130 Brazilians a year, and injures over 200. It also causes damage worth R$ 1 billion a year

On March 5 the city of Rio de Janeiro was struck [1] by 2,149 lightning bolts [2].   It's an impressive number, but did not surprise the experts. About 60 million lightning bolts hit Brazil each year, according to estimates by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in São José dos Campos). In the last ten years there has been an 18% increase in lightning strikes in the country.  Experts believe this will increase further in the coming decades. Between 2000 and 2009, 1,321 Brazilians were killed by lightning, at an average of 132 fatalities a year. Of this total, 19% were killed on plantations or while herding [3] up animals during storms. INPE says 80% of deaths caused by lightning could have been avoided if people knew how to take care.

How to protect yourself from lightning

INPE has produced a booklet [4] of tips on how to protect yourself in electrical storms [5]. Care must be taken even if you are at home. Stay away from metal-framed [6] windows and doors. You should not touch any electrical equipment that is connected to the mains [7]. Also, you should not use a wired [8] land line telephone or hold large metal objects. If you are outdoors, do not shelter [9] under trees or near wire fences [10]. It is even more dangerous if you are in wide open spaces, such as beaches or soccer fields, or if you are swimming in pools or lakes. In such cases you should shelter in a safer place, including cars, but you must close the doors and windows.

Matéria publicada na edição de abril da revista Maganews.

Áudio – Thiago Ribeiro

Foto – Leonid / Shutterstock


1 to be struck – ser atingido (to strick = atingir)

2 lightning bolts – raios

3 to herd up – recolher o rebanho / animais

4 booklet - cartilha

5 storm – tempestade

6 metal-framed – estrutura de metal

7 mains - aqui = rede

8 wired land line telephone – telefone com fio

9 to shelter – abrigar

10 wire fences – cercas de arame