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An electrothermal hydrodynamic model is presented to evaluate effects of the applied lightning impulse voltage parameters such as polarity, magnitude, and rise time on the initiation and propagation of the streamers formed in an IEC defined needle-sphere electrode geometry filled with transformer oil. Instantaneous velocity, column diameter, head curvature, maximum electric field, and the volume charge density have been investigated as the main characteristics of the streamer. Modeling results indicate that greater applied voltage peak amplitudes form streamers with higher velocity, greater head curvatures, and thicker columns. The bushy negative streamers usually initiate at almost twice the applied voltage magnitude and propagate slower than filamentary positive streamers. Results also show that in transformer oil at the same impulse voltage peak amplitude, shorter rise times create thicker positive and negative streamers.