Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Totally True Tuesday ~ Teammates; Thunder & Lightning


You are suddenly awakened by a loud noise that shakes the house. It’s pouring rain as flashes of lightning streaks through the sky. A thunderstorm has paid you a visit…

Now that the warmer weather is here we can expect to experience the occasional thunderstorm. It may be scary when the thunder starts to roll and lightening is zip-zapping everywhere, but let’s take a look at what’s really going on in those dark clouds.


A thunderstorm is more likely to happen on a hot sticky day. It occurs when the cold air above sinks and meets the rising, warm, moist air. These two systems collide and produce a thunderhead (storm clouds). Once a thunderstorm builds it can bring lightening, heavy rain, strong winds, hail and even a tornado.

Thunder likes to hang out in cumulonimbus clouds. These turn the sky a bruise-like color; purply-black and blue, and can be massive in size. The tallest could reach 12 miles (19 km) high – that’s twice the size of Mt. Everest!
Fun Thunder Fact…
…the Vikings believed thunder was produced by the angry, bad-tempered god, Thor, throwing his hammer across the sky.

Teammates; Thunder & Lightning

Thunder and lightning are teammates and are usually found together. Why? Because lightning is what gives thunder its loud rumble.

Lightning is hot, in fact it’s about five times hotter than the surface of the sun. When lightning streaks through the sky, it heats the air up so quickly that it makes the characterisitic KABOOM sound we know as thunder.

Thunder and lightning also happens at exactly the same time. But because light travels faster than sound we see the lightning before we hear the thunder.

Fun Thunder Fact…
…right now there’s about 1800 thunderstorms occuring throughout the world

The Flash

Lightning doesn’t just happen, it needs some help from the thundercloud. Inside a storm cloud there are strong winds hurling water droplets around. These droplets bump and bash into each other causing the cloud to crackle with static electricity. The static builds and builds until finally it breaks through the cloud and streaks through the sky as a lightning bolt.

Lightning comes in different forms; fork, sheet, ribbon and the ball. The ball lightning looks like fire and is very rare; however, there has been reports of this type of lightning floating through an open window and exploding with a huge bang.

Lightning packs a whallop. The spark can reach over 5 miles (8 km) in length, raise the temperature of the air around it by 50,000 degrees F (27,700 C) and contain a hundred million volts of electricity!

Fun Lightning Fact…
…It’s estimated that earth is hit by more than one hundred lightning bolts every second

Now that we’ve figured out what’s going on in a thunderstorm, perhaps it won’t be so scary next time one rolls into your town. But, even though we know the science behind these weather marvels, be sure to stay safe indoors when one occurs.

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