# Would lightning strike a flying island?

Looking for someone with meteorology/physics knowledge to help with this one.

Let's say I've got an island that floats in the sky--nothing special, these are a staple of fantasy these days. For argument's sake lets put it at a reasonable elevation of about 7,000 feet.

Now, this is going to put it right in the middle of any cumulonimbus cloud that comes along. My understanding of lightning is a little shaky, but it seems like the island would be 'grounded' by virtue of being ground and therefore lightning might be attracted to it. Would people living on such a flying island have to worry about lightning storms? Would they have to worry more than people living on terra firma?

• HOW can you ground a floating fantasy island then?? Aug 3, 2018 at 3:46
• Lightning can just as well occur between points above ground, and I actually believe that this is more common on Earth than lightning strikes that reach the ground. Lightning happens because the (electric) potential difference between two points exceeds the breakdown voltage of the medium; there is no requirement for this to involve any point on the ground.
– user
Aug 3, 2018 at 6:20
• @TroubleIdeas If you have a new question, then go ahead and ask it. Make sure to show us that you've made some effort in answering it yourself first; How to write the perfect question has suggestions for how to write a question that is likely to be well received by the community. I'm not sure why it was felt that what you wrote is suggesting improvements or seeking clarification on the question; it seems to me to be a different, albeit related, question.
– user
Aug 3, 2018 at 6:22
• Addendum: You cannot ground a floating island. Aug 4, 2018 at 18:48

It can.

If the wind of the storm caused a big enough static charge on the island (or part of it), lightning would strike it to equalize the charge.

Lightning arcs from cloud to cloud for the same reason.

Or, a thin part of the island may just be in the way. Flying aircraft are sometimes hit by lightning. the aircraft is not the target but it happened to be in the way when the lightning arced. It can make a dime sized hole through the aircraft (better hope a person or fuel tank isn't in the way).