Environment

Towering Attractions

The proliferation of cellphone masts and tall broadcast antenna towers during the past 30 years has resulted in a sharp increase in lightning strikes in areas near the structures.

A research group from the University of Oklahoma found that nearly 100 percent of the U.S. locations studied that had more than 100 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in a recent 20-year period were within 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) of an antenna tower registered with the Federal Communications Commission.

The taller the tower, the greater the likelihood of more strikes.

The frequency of strikes near the towers was between 115 percent and 140 percent higher than in areas 2 to 4 kilometers (1.25 to 2.5 miles) away from the towers.

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