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What is a thunderstorm?
Scientists have tried to understand what makes up a thunderstorm since they were first recorded in ancient times. Lightning has been recognized as coming from clouds for many centuries.
Thunder is defined as “a sound associated with lightning, typically short (50-1000 milliseconds) sharp pulses”. It occurs at constant or variable intervals depending on the distance between cloud peaks that form your specific storm.
These storms are composed of supercooled liquid droplets mixed in air. As warmer humidified air flows past another cool area, it becomes saturated or supersaturated with water vapor. The moist air flowing into middle and upper levels of the atmosphere through evaporation becomes unstable once shear forces such as horizontal wind speed increase. A portion of this flow enters a cold pool where condensation takes place resulting in formation of clouds and accumulation of precipitable moisture.
As these clouds move downward under gravity, precipitation can occur along with cooling cycles causing more rain to fall. Small amounts of rain may be direct hits by individual drops, while larger amounts produce little other than a damp spot below the drop. Various shapes and sizes of drops result in different types of sounds including large heavy drops forming an audible ring after hitting something hard or small drops bouncing off smooth surfaces creating a unique ping sound. Very small drops (around 7 micrometers or less in diameter) hit very hot air close to the surface producing a blue flame visible to observers.
This all leads to the question;
Do I need to worry about lightning?
Although there’s no way to prevent thunderstorms entirely, you can take steps to limit the risk of them occurring in your area.
Know when to expect rain or storms.
Generally, we should be watching the weather forecasts throughout the day so that we know which areas are likely to have stormy periods.
These could be period where it rains lightly versus heavily, or if we go into a warmer climate phase, then we may also see some tropical activity with clouds and showers.
Also, since summer is right around the corner (hopefully), knowing when to expect seasonal storms will put us in mind of season changes and fall cooling methods.
Lastly, knowing when they are most likely to happen helps me plan my outdoor activities for the day. It gives me an idea of what things to bring along and what things to wrap up quickly.
Planning my time properly reduces frustration at not having enough time to do all those good things I want to get done.
Are there any unusual factors regarding this spot that make it risky for rainfall?
Any other warnings that might help inform my decision to stay indoors or wait for another place to visit?
I feel that being prepared for anything is very important, but I don’t like putting myself in dangerous situations without knowing how to manage it. Is there anyone who can watch my back while I’m out?
Does thunder mean rain?
Most times, when you hear thunder it means that it is raining or about to rain. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you hear thunder while listening to music at night, but you’re not in an area with lightning, then it will likely turn out to be a rainy evening.
If you listen for several hours after hearing thunder, you might find that it starts reoccurring again and again. It has been known to do this twice during a single rainfall.
This happens because when the clouds produce heat, it creates spikes of energy like electricity that make noise as they travel through the air. A common mistake people make is to assume every time the clouds release a spike of energy, it must therefore be raining. Instead, it depends on how long the energy stays inside the cloud.
On very cold days, such as around freezing, condensation of water vapor can take place within the cloud. This increases the amount of moisture in the air below 0 ° C (32 ° F). Condensation only lasts until the temperature rises enough to melt the ice crystals that form from the condensation.
When this occurs, it ignores the fact that condensation only takes place where both boiling and melting points drop below the atmospheric pressure. Where the temperatures rise due to human activity, such as heating or lighting, the atmosphere cannot support life-sustaining conditions. At some point, the liquid turns into gas, and the gas returns back
Is it safe to be outside during a thunderstorm?
While some people may look at a storm rolling in and think, “Oh well, if it’s going to rain soon, I should probably go ahead and take my dog out,” you should actually keep your dog inside.
Even though dogs can hear higher frequencies than we can, they don’t sound like human voices when they are close up. The low-pitched sounds that we call “dog noise” is what they hear most often, especially before a loud storm reaches them.
If a storm warning appears on your local news channel or website, there may even be an emergency meeting scheduled for animals at the shelter. You can also check the online pet rescue groups to see if anyone has rescued their pets yet.
Another option is visiting your local animal protection agency to find out more information about how to protect your pet from lightning.
The best way to make sure your dog stays indoors is by ensuring the area is safe. If you have any trees and grasses that reach into the sidewalk or other structures, then these needs to be removed or cleared.
This makes the area safer for everyone (not just humans but also dogs) who might be walking down the street. Removing trees and other plants not only protects pedestrians and vehicles, but also improves the air quality in the area.
Keep all members of your family together so you can be adequately heated or cooled. Check the weather constantly to
What should I do if I get caught in a thunderstorm?
It’s really important to remember that it is not safe to be out in a lightning storm, so if you see flashes or hear rolls of thunder while you are outside, go back inside immediately!
While there are many factors such as age, health, how we live, etc. that determine whether or not we will have sunburn, hematoma, or other skin injuries, one thing that can help minimize risk is staying dry.
If you happen to be outdoors when a storm arrives (or if you end up indoors due to weather), make sure to avoid wetting yourself down until after you find cover.
That way you will have extra time to react before coming near a window or opening the door. Come across the room slowly and quietly with your hand between your body and the wall to ensure you don’t bump into anything and draw attention to yourself.
Once you make it across safely, stay away from light-colored surfaces for as long as possible. Light colors reflect light, making them more susceptible to damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.
Is there such a thing as too much rain?
Recently scientists discovered that clouds without precipitation can be very long lived. They found that large, eventually precipitating “supercells” accounted for only about 15% of all cloud drops in their study. The rest were small and short-lived enough to resist condensation that would turn them into rain or ice.
That means most dropping clouds are dry at some depth. What makes significant amounts of rainfall more likely is not so much the existence of a supercell itself, but its presence within a suitable area and sufficient duration of time.
The relevant climate conditions differ depending on location and weather type, but generally speaking, these areas tend to have quite a few superfelications like this one.
How can I stop a thunderstorm?
If you are in an area that experiences thunderstorms, there is one way to halt this form of rain; wait it out.
If you are caught in the middle of a storm, try your best to stay put until the storm passes.
Once the sun rises, light floods into the sky, melting any remaining bits of snow or ice that have accumulated during the night.
Since lightning never comes with rain, without fail, it’s time to go back inside when the skies begin to clear.
Why are there so many questions about thunderstorms?
Do you know the meaning of lightning, or what factors contribute to it? More often than not, people don’t know how dangerous lightning can be.
It is estimated that between 10% and 20% of people believe that they will safely stand under a tree during a storm.
This is wrong! There are few ways to protect yourself from lightning. The safest way is by staying indoors in a well-lit room with multiple windows.
By entering a shelter (a house or cabin), you gain protection from the elements above as well as below your feet. But you still enter through an open doorway, which increases the risk of getting hit by lightning.
Also, trees aren’t very good at grabbing electrons from clouds. That’s why they sometimes act as protective shields around other objects in a storm.
Do I need to watch for tornado warnings?
Tornadoes are one of my favorite dangers when it comes to traveling in the South. Not only do they make for an exciting trip, but they are often very powerful and dangerous.
If you’re not used to them, tornados can be shocking or even frightening. They also have no sound, so you will know if there is a danger before you become aware that something is wrong.
Also, because tornados form most readily over water, they make for interesting weather stories. People love coming up with reasons why they should pop up now, hence the reason they hear about them so much.
That being said, while we here at Best Places spend a lot of time talking about how fun storming is, we also want to highlight places that protect their guests from destructive winds.
These days, many businesses provide safety as a courtesy when visiting particularly vulnerable areas (like tours of buildings). It’s always best to assume that people don’t care enough to keep others safe, which is why companies that offer guided tours rarely invest in protection.
Guided tours last forever, whereas accidents happen once every few weeks, so keeping visitors safe is worth the effort.