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One of the most important speed feats is dodging or reacting to lightning. This article is supposed to provide some short explanations on how fast a character should be ranked through these feats.

What is a real Lightning?

Most lightning in fiction is not real lightning. Often it is supernatural in nature, and is possibly not even electricity. Therefore lightning is only accepted as such under certain circumstances.

  • Cloud-to-ground lightning is considered to be real lightning, as long there is nothing suggesting otherwise.
  • Lightning bolts from electrical devices can usually be considered as real lightning, as long as the purpose of the device is not to produce lighting strikes. That may intuitively sound strange, but many lightning weapons actually just produce energy beams, while things like broken circuits usually do have proper electricity flowing. Nevertheless, some more realistic devices like Tesla coils can most likely be accepted as real lightning.
  • Lightning directly produced by a character is only considered as real lightning if it has demonstrated some properties that real lightning has. Some examples are: making muscles of affected beings contract, having an (electro)magnetic field, being shown to actually move with a speed similar to lightning, flowing through conducting materials, the character being able to manipulate real electricity or electromagnetism in general, generating ozone or causing electrolysis.

Scientific basis

The average speed of lightning is 4.4×105 m/s, but can vary mostly in the range of 1.0-14×105 m/s. [1]

The clouds that usually cause thunderstorms build about 200m to 4000m above the ground.[2] In this wiki, 2000m is the standard assumption.

Calculation

The calculation for the speed a character moves at when dodging/reacting to lightning is a very simple one.

The formula is:

1equation 1446059911104

Cloud-to-Ground lightning

Based on the formula and scientific basis we can now make an estimation on which speed characters, that dodged cloud-to-ground lightning, should be placed at. We do that by inserting the distance values and the speed values into the formula. For the distance the character moved we will assume one meter, as that seems reasonable. Should a character appear to have moved a lot more or a lot less than this, a separate calculation has to be made using the formula above.

Speed\Distance Low-End (4000m) Average (2100 m) High-End (200m)
Low-End
25 m/s
47.62 m/s
500 m/s
Average (4.4×105 m/s)
110 m/s
209.52 m/s
2200 m/s
High-End
350 m/s
666.67 m/s
7000 m/s

Non Cloud-to-Ground lightning

Non Cloud-to-Ground lightning can be calculated with the same calculation mentioned above.

It should be noted that as long as the character or machine was not displayed creating cloud-to-ground lightning, it is questionable whether or not the lightning actually moves at average lightning speed, because the scientific knowledge on the speed of lightning is lacking in the current state of science, so that it is unknown which variables that could influence the speed.

References

  1. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1985JGR....90.8136T
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumulonimbus_cloud#Appearance

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