Thunderstorms are an awe inspiring force of nature. Fun to play in, but not much fun to drive in.

Now that we’re “officially” in summer, I get to enjoy watching one of my favorite pastimes – watching thunderstorms.  From my office, I have a panoramic view of beautiful Lake Erie, enjoying sunrises, sunsets, sailboats and lake freighters, and of course rain and thunderstorms. Many times the storms form out over the water and then make their way to land. Darker clouds form, higher winds kick in and fishing boats start making their way to port are just some of the telltale signs a storm is on its way.  One of the best parts is I can watch the storms follow the boulevard going west to east right in front of my office! When the storms roll in, you can feel the cold front just before the rain hits, (love the smell too!) and afterwards a kind of steamy peace with everything soaked as sunshine peaks through the clouds.  And of course, the best part is the lightening shows. I love how they strike, and then scatter across the sky as the thunder hits. Since we are on the lake our local news stations’  have to do a really good job of tracking storms across the region, often alerting us to potential high winds and possible tornadoes.  It makes me appreciate the power of the storms – praying that they don’t knock out the electricity here at KHT (Truly a PIA!).  I did some digging to learn a bit more – enjoy and thanks to YouTube, Facebook and Google for the info.

Storm rolling in

Thunderstorms typically form in environments with high humidity, instability, and an upward motion of air. As the sun heats the Earth’s surface, the warm air rises and cools, leading to the formation of cumulus clouds. If the atmosphere is unstable enough, these clouds continue to grow vertically, eventually developing into cumulonimbus clouds.

A mature thunderstorm consists of multiple regions or layers. The updraft region is where warm air rises rapidly, creating the towering cloud. Within the cloud, water droplets and ice crystals collide, generating electrical charges. The top of the cloud often spreads out in the shape of an anvil, known as the anvil cloud. The downdraft region consists of cool air descending from the cloud, often associated with heavy rain, gusty winds, and occasionally, hail or tornadoes. West of Ohio, in the more open states, superstorms / supercells are a site to see

Lightning is one of the most captivating aspects of thunderstorms. It is caused by the buildup and discharge of electrical energy within a thundercloud. The exact mechanism of lightning generation is not fully understood, but it involves the separation of positive and negative charges within the cloud. When the voltage difference becomes large enough, a channel of ionized air called a stepped leader extends from the cloud toward the ground. This is followed by a return stroke, which is the bright, visible flash of lightning moving back up the stepped leader’s path. Video

A lightning strike begins with a stepped leader. It is an invisible channel of ionized air that extends downward from the cloud toward the ground in a series of steps or stages. The stepped leader propagates in quick, successive bursts, creating a path for the main lightning bolt to follow.  When the stepped leader approaches the ground or a conducting object such as a tree or building, a powerful electrical surge called the return stroke is initiated. The return stroke moves upward along the stepped leader’s path, creating the bright and visible lightning bolt that we see. It is the most luminous part of the lightning strike and travels at a speed of about one-third the speed of light.

Following the initial return stroke, subsequent discharges called dart leaders may occur. Dart leaders are smaller branches of lightning that travel from the ground or a conducting object back up towards the cloud. They often follow the path established by the initial return stroke.

In some cases, particularly with positive lightning strikes, upward leaders may be observed. These leaders initiate from tall structures, such as tall buildings or transmission towers, and extend upward toward the thundercloud. When they connect with the downward stepped leader or main lightning channel, a complete circuit is formed, resulting in a powerful return stroke.

Thunder is the sound produced by the rapid expansion and contraction of air surrounding a lightning bolt. The intense heat from the lightning (up to 30,000 Kelvin) causes the surrounding air to expand explosively, creating a shock wave. The shock wave travels through the atmosphere as sound waves, resulting in the rumbling or cracking noise we hear as thunder.

Thunder is usually heard after the lightning due to the difference in speed between light and sound. The speed of sound in air in thunder is approximately 343 meters per second (1,125 feet per second), so you can estimate the distance to a lightning strike by counting the seconds between seeing the flash and hearing the thunder – every 5 seconds corresponds to roughly 1 mile or 1.6 kilometers. (I love counting to guess how far a strike is).

Thunderstorms although beautiful can be dangerous, so it’s important to stay informed and take precautions. Seek shelter indoors when thunderstorms are in the area and avoid open spaces, tall objects, and bodies of water. Lightning can travel through the ground and metal objects, so it’s essential to avoid contact with them during a storm. If caught outdoors and unable to reach shelter, avoid open fields, hilltops, isolated trees, and bodies of water. Instead, crouch down in a low-lying area.

Remember, thunderstorms are awe-inspiring displays of nature’s power, but they should be observed from a safe distance to ensure personal safety. Hailstorm Footage


Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


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