18

Yes, if one takes the common meaning of the term "eye of the storm" to be the area of relatively low wind speed near the center of the vortex, most tornadoes can be said to have eyes. Cyclostrophic balance describes a steady-state, inviscid flow with neglected Coriolis force: $$ \dfrac{v^2}{r} = -\dfrac{1}{\rho}\dfrac{\partial p}{\partial n} $$ where ...


13

The top of a cumulonimbus cloud is usually about 40,000 feet and can reach heights of over 60,000 feet, which would be visible for a distance of 245 or 300 miles, respectively. Of course, that would be the very top that would be visible at those distances, but it puts it well within the 125 mile distance from which you saw the storm. The following formula ...


13

For same day forecasting of afternoon thunderstorms, I'd start with the morning observations and the 12Z† model runs (I choose 12Z because that is the morning here in the Americas. For Europe you might be more interested in the 00Z or 06Z runs to start your day). In particular I'd start with the output of the 12Z GFS and NAM, and then give that some time ...


11

This case is an excellent example of urban-induced convection. Urban areas have very different surface and soil properties, leading to a different heat balance relative to more natural environments. At times when solar shortwave radiation forcing is high - summer time, early afternoons - urban areas act as heat islands. Sensible heat flux and outgoing ...


8

Yes, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center's soundings page is a great source for the information you are looking for, especially the skew-T diagrams and wind hodographs. This site provides current soundings as well as a past archive of 1 week. For the explanation of the soundings diagrams and numbers provided, see the soundings help page.


7

Rain in a climate such as Ireland is most often stratiform. That is, it is created when moist air is lifted by a front, or by divergence in the upper troposphere. Thunderstorms involve buoyant air, which rises on its own due to its being warmer than its surroundings. Typically solar radiation is involved in heating the surface such that the air near it warms ...


7

Since the sound waves propagate not from a single point source but along the length of the lightning's path, the sound origin's varying distances from the observer can generate a rolling or rumbling effect. Perception of the sonic characteristics is further complicated by factors such as the irregular and possibly branching geometry of the lightning channel, ...


6

Annually, about 51 people die from lightning strikes per year in the United States. Part of the reason is the low probability of being hit by lightning. Tornadoes, hail, and straight line winds sweep large areas, while one lightning bolt covers a rather small area, and may even be harmless if it doesn't make contact. Think of it this way: if you were struck ...


5

Is the ratio of IC to CG lightning relevant? Yes. Primarily, severe storms tend to have very few cloud-to-ground (CG) strikes. Thus, the ratio of IC:CG is likely going to be very high.1 2 However, some severe storms do produce a significant amount of positive CG strikes. They would still have a high IC:CG ratio, but they would distinguish themselves by ...


4

Geometry of the lightning channel controls the type and duration of the sound. Imagine a lightning strike oriented directly away from you--the farthest point on it is much farther away than the nearest point, meaning that the thunder will be drawn out over a long time. On the other hand, if the lightning strike is perfectly vertical and you're standing a ...


4

Yes, most storm chasers are risking their lives to take lightning photos. Your likelihood of being struck is obviously higher the closer you are to where lightning is originating from. However, lightning is highly unpredictable, and therefore, there is not much you can do to avoid all odds of being struck. One suggestion would be to take photos from inside ...


3

Clouds have ceilings and bases because the atmosphere is stratified. Atmosphere is stratified due to earth's rotation and variance of composition, humidity, density, temperature, and pressure from surface of the earth to the edge of the orbital space. Clouds form under specific conditions of composition, humidity, density, temperature, and pressure. ...


3

I know this question has an answer confirmed, but I'll add my own comments for posterity's sake. There are different types of clouds. Buoyancy-driven (cumulus-type) clouds are the types that have the most definitive bases and ceilings. The cloud base is approximately the Lifted Condensation Level, which is the height that the air near the surface would have ...


3

A vertical cross section in RHI mode reveals vertical structure that you can't directly observe in a horizontal PPI scan. In the image below you can clearly see that there is a significant bounded weak echo region (BWER). You could put this together from PPI scans at different scan elevations combined for a 3D view but with RHI you can see this from a ...


3

As you say in your question, ball lightening and and St Elmo's Fire are related to thunderstorm activity (e.g., Griwr'ev et al, 1991). Grigor’ev et al (1999) worked out a formula for the charge on small drops of water (which is a bit complicated for a simple answer), but suffice to say the total voltage involved is high when you scale from one drop to ...


3

The answer is dependent on the geographical location. Over sea, there is hardly any diurnal cycle of lightning (this means that there is no time of the day when lightning is more/less often observed). In continental regions (e.g. Siberia), however, there is a strong diurnal cycle of lightning: it is most common in the late afternoon, and least common in the ...


2

To help answer that, I'll start with a look at the broader country (and by extension, world), which is primarily my answer from a similar question on Physics SE, slightly adapted: It's good to start with some foundation on what time of day lightning is most often seen. Here is a plot from Global electric circuit implications of combined aircraft storm ...


2

Thunder is a manifestation of lightning, the sudden discharge of (static) electrical potential between cloud and ground, or cloud and cloud. That potential is built up through convection of vapor from low to high altitudes, typically tens of thousands of feet. Though possible in winter, though unusual, this kind of convection occurs mostly during summer ...


2

Changing air currents is very difficult and energy intensive. You'd need to alter an entire weather system - no easy feat. If you heated a very large region of cool air you might prevent the spiraling that causes tornadoes to form, but you'd need to warm at least few states worth of upper atmosphere. It would be an enormous undertaking. There's also ...


2

In a sense, the full structure of a cumulus cloud extends all the way to the ground. The cloud is formed from the convection of air rising off the ground. The rising column becomes visible as a cloud when the atmospheric temperature becomes cold enough to condense water vapor, and the level where that occurs is the base we see. From Wikipedia: Cumulus ...


2

You should start with NOAA services. They have a Storm Events Database going back to 1950, where you can do queries for states/counties of interest. If you are more interested in lightning data, they also have some products, including raw data from a private company (you'll need access for this) and freely available derived products.


1

Q: Are thunderstorms normal at the end of a heatwave? Depends on how quickly cooler weather moves in and how moist it is. If it's hot and a cooler damper mass of air moves in quickly (over a couple of hours) - yeeha! thunderstorms. if it's hot and cooler weather moves in over multiple days - probably not. :)


1

I too don't know any direct sources. So you will likely have to do a bit of legwork. Was going to offer that you could work a climatology together from monthly FP6 reports using the desired NWS site (click the office on https://sercc.com/nowdata.html, then switch to observed weather, then select CF6 and choose the site and then indicate the month report ...


1

Physically there is no difference. A thunderstorm is defined by occurrence of lightning, no matter how much lightning there is, if it's cloud-to-ground or intercloud. Usually if meteorologists talk about thundershowers in weather reports they want to point out that there will be weaker thunderstorms (e.g. without hail, storm, heavy rainfall or the danger of ...


1

I've done some research studies about the flash rate in various storms. My paper is now in review, but here is some info from this paper: We have computed measurements for supercell and moderate thunderstorms, counting CG+ discharges. There are 24 times more discharges in supercells than in moderate thunderstorms. Supercells on average had better ...


1

Unlike storms and floods, lightning strikes a single point. So the area directly affected by lightning is small in comparison. Another thing to consider is that when you see lightning, that does not mean it touched down to the ground. However, keep in mind the fundamental way that lightning causes destruction, death, property damage, etc: wildfires. Most ...


1

Same experience two weeks ago north of Charleston, SC: could very clearly see abundant lightning in the top of a distant bank of clouds east over the ocean at nighttime with no moon. It was spectacular. But the radar showed that storm to be a little over 150 miles out to sea...


1

I had the exact same experience as the original poster, just this evening Sept 1, 2018, coincidentally right by Wittman Airport in Oshkosh. It's flat without trees across the EAA grounds there, so I could see to the horizon. There were lightning strikes going on almost directly south, and the lightning was colored orange by the humid air and distance. I ...


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