VANCOUVER -- On Wednesday a KGW news crew and an NBC network crew got an exclusive look inside the high voltage lightning lab at the Bonneville Power Administration.
Workers demonstrated how they create lightning and test the dangers of being struck by it.
You know, we ve seen all these stories on lightning strikes, now you can actually see what can happen, said NBC investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen.
Sixteen people have died this year from lightning, the most recent incident happened Sunday when a man was killed by lightning at Venice Beach in Southern California.
Background: Man dies after lightning strike affects 14
Here in the laboratory we are able to produce up to 2 million volts with our lightning generator, and this makes a pretty impressive lightning bolt. But it s nothing compared to what mother nature can produce, said Bonneville Power Administration electrical engineer Jeff Hildreth. A real lightning bolt can be anywhere from 100 million to a billion volts.
Hildreth said part of what makes lightning so dangerous is how unpredictable it is.
It s as close as you ll ever be, as close as you ll ever want to be to lightning, said Rossen.