Why does lightning tend to strike the highest thing in the vicinity?

Question by Joseph B: Why does lightning tend to strike the highest thing in the vicinity?
I know they say that lightning typically strikes the highest thing in the area, but why does this occur? They say not to stand underneath a tree, for example, because they have a higher likelihood of being struck by lightning. But why would lightning be attracted to something like a tree? It is not a conductor of electricity, the same way metals and a human body (which contains mostly salt water) does. It seems like if I was lightning, I would prefer to hit a metal object or a human before a tree, even if the tree was bigger than the human. Can somebody please explain? Thanks.

Best answer:

Answer by mommounknown
Most things are a better conductor than air, so the lighting is trying to ground itself as fast as possible, so is searches for any object that will allow it to travel through it faster than air. This is the highest object in the vicinity because its the closest and allows the lighting to leave the air medium.

What do you think? Answer below!

One Response to “Why does lightning tend to strike the highest thing in the vicinity?”

  • Jerry L says:

    lightening is only a bolt of electricity and is prone to ALWAYS FOLLOW THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE. You said trees are not conductors but that is incorrect .their water content is enough to draw and carry electricity.you are right in that lightening is more likely to hit metal because it presents more conductive material by way of DENSITY than a tree therefore if the metal rod and the tree were the same height and EXACTLY the same distance from electrically charged clouds the lightening bolt would ALWAYS be found between the rod and the cloud rather than the tree and the cloud. take note that MOST lightening travels from the grounded object TO the cloud much the same as a welders arc.

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