Weather

Interesting weather stories, myths, facts and pictures.

Do Lightning Rods Attract Lightning?

Lightning rods have been around since Benjamin Franklin first discovered lightning was made of electricity. And by watching a thunderstorm, logic would conclude that if one were to position a metal rod at the highest point on a structure, a lightning bolt would strike it, direct the electricity into the ground, thus averting damage to the structure itself. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. As strange as this may sound, metal doesn’t attract lightning. Nothing does. Lightning can strike anything, conductive or non-conductive, and what it does strike isn’t always obvious….
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What is a Heat Burst?

Many people that live in the mid-west are familiar with sudden changes in air temperature. They are usually associated with a passing cold front or the cool down-burst of a thunderstorm. However, on rare occasions, the air temperature can rapidly increase due to a phenomenon called a heat burst. Within a matter of minutes the wind speeds can exceed 65 mph and the air temperature can increase by 20°F or more. As strange as that sounds, they are well documented (see bottom of article). Even more intriguing, these events almost…
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Are There More Tornadoes Due to Global Warming?

The recent outbreak of large and destructive tornadoes in the mid-west has a lot of folks speculating that perhaps global warming or climate change is the cause, but caution must be taken before making such correlations. Although the average number of tornadoes reported each year has in fact increased, this does not mean there are any more tornadoes now than in years past. That may sound contradictory, but a lot has changed in recent years that allows meteorologists to better detect and categorize tornadoes. In the last few years, there…
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What is Graupel? Little Balls of Snow or Hail?

Have you ever seen little balls of snow that look like Styrofoam falling from the sky and wondered what they were? They look like hail, but they’re soft. They feel like snow, but they’re round. What exactly is this stuff? It’s called graupel, also referred to as snow pellets, soft hail, small hail, tapioca snow, rimed snow, and ice balls. Simply touching the graupel can cause it to quickly melt, unlike hail which is more durable, heavy and solid. In fact, if you pinch graupel, you can compress it quite…
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Weather Sayings and Folklore

Many of us have heard the various weather saying and folklore, but is there any truth to these phrases? When dogs eat grass, you can expect a severe storm. My dog eats grass in the winter, spring, summer and fall. It’s got nothing to do with the weather and more to due with how the dog feels. Typically, dogs eat grass when they are hungry or when their stomach is upset. They don’t suddenly get hungry for grass because a thunderstorm is coming. If a rooster crows at night, there…
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No Two Snowflakes Are Alike?

With all the trillions of snowflakes that are piled up in your driveway, coating the mountain tops, and plowed from the road, it’s probably true that no two snowflakes are alike. Proving this would be quite a feat, for obvious reasons, but you’ll as you read below, you’ll see why the old adage it probably true. Snowflakes are very sensitive to micro-environmental variables such as wind, temperature, humidity, air pressure, cloud condensing nuclei, and air particles. Add an element of chaos theory to the mix and you’ll see below that…
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Roy Sullivan Struck by Lightning 7 Times!

Some would say Roy Sullivan was the unluckiest man to ever walk the planet. Or some might say he was the luckiest. Roy Sullivan managed to survive being struck by lightning seven times throughout his life. You might be thinking, there’s no way that’s even possible and this is just another internet myth. But the fact is, all seven lightning strikes were documented and recorded by the superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, R. Taylor Hoskins, and all his injuries were verified by various doctors. Nicknamed the “Lightning Man”, Roy earned…
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