Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors"

Sunday evening, I happened to be looking out the window when I saw a cloud to ground lightning bolt at a different angle than the others I had seen in the previous few minutes. It is pictured and circled below.
RadarScope
Note that this bolt is off by itself, well ahead of any of the others in the storm to the west. This is because it was almost certainly a bolt that originated in the anvil of the thunderstorm. And, these bolts often kill and injure people at a higher rate than most others.

The reason is that the anvil can extend miles or tens of miles downwind of the thunderstorm, in this case to the east. So, that soccer game observing lightning miles to the west could receive a fatal surprise if a bolt comes out of the anvil.

The National Weather Service lightning safety slogan, when thunder roars, go indoors, is designed to help prevent such deaths. Because thunder can be heard miles ahead of the lightning, the sound of thunder means there is danger over a wider area than where lightning has been occurring.

As we get deeper into thunderstorm season, when thunder roars, go indoors, is a good slogan to keep in mind.

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