Interesting weather stories, myths, facts and pictures.

Two Types of Lightning – Positive and Negative

Positive Lightning Strike

How exactly lightning forms is still open for debate, but scientists are certain there are two types of lightning: positive and negative. The most commonly accepted theory is that electrons are stripped off colliding ice particles caught in a thunderstorm’s updraft. Once these particles lose an electron, their net remaining charge becomes positive. These positively charged particles usually rise high into the upper-most part of the thunderstorm where they tend to collect. Conversely, other particles in the cloud acquire an electron after the collision and as a result, their net…
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Harnessing Lightning and Using the Electricity

lightning strike prairie

The idea of harnessing lightning and using the electricity to supplement our power grid is nothing new. The difficulty has always been knowing when and where lightning will strike, capturing it, then releasing the electricity onto the electrical grid. Even if all these issues could be addressed, would it still be worthwhile to try and harness the power of a thunderstorm? There’s no question thunderstorms generate a tremendous amount of electricity. A typical lightning bolt produces about 10,000 amps. Some bolts, such as the one that struck the Apollo spacecraft…
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Can Insects and Plants Predict Weather?

A lot of weather folk lore over the years has made claim that insects can predict the weather and that by observing the insects, we humans can make better decisions on how to dress, what crops to plant or whether to water the lawn or not. I have yet to read or see any evidence the confirms insects somehow have a better ability to forecast the weather than the local meteorologist on TV. Fact is, insects don’t predict weather. They simply react to its immediate changes. Take for example a…
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Do Mobile Homes and Trailer Parks Attract Tornadoes?

tornado trailer park

Many joke how mobile homes and trailer parks always seem to get hit by tornadoes. Some truly believe mobile homes attract tornadoes. The fact is, nothing attracts tornadoes. They form and move based on wind and other meteorological variables, not the type of home on the ground. The reason people may think tornadoes target mobile homes and trailer parks is that immense damage seems to occur when they strike these places. Mobile homes and trailers are not securely fastened to their foundations and are usually structurally weak in comparison to…
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Colorado Blizzard on December 20th, 2006

colorado blizzard

This was another one of those infamous Colorado blizzards that snuck up with about a 1-day warning. The first forecasts from a few days earlier didn’t mention anything about a significant snow storm, only that we may get a couple inches of snow and some moderate winds. Then on Tuesday, the day before the storm hit, forecasters started hinting that this could be a pretty powerful storm. I figured it wouldn’t be that bad because a fairly potent yet uneventful cold front had already pushed through a few days earlier….
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Facts About Thunder

What causes thunder? Thunder is caused by the rapid expansion and contraction of the air surrounding a lighting bolt. On average, a lightning bolt is about 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun, or about 50,000°F! This causes the air to become super-heated and as a result, the air rapidly expands in fractions of a second. However, the air doesn’t stay super-heated for long and quickly dissipates the heat in fractions of second. It’s this rapid expansion and contraction of the air that creates a compression wave we…
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Should You Open Windows During A Tornado?

A long standing tornado myth states that if you open windows during  a tornado, it will prevent the roof from being blown off. There’s another myth that says you should only open north facing windows. I’m not sure where these myths originated, but they are both pretty silly. It’s really a matter of simple physics. Watch the small video to the left. Open windows would not have made difference and the outcome would have been exactly the same; the house would still have been destroyed. The roof on most well…
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