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7 votes
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Why is thunder and lightning rare, even though it rains frequently?

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, ...
jakewx's user avatar
  • 96
6 votes
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Photo of sprites in a clear dark sky, how is this possible?

According to this Wikipedia entry Sprites occur at altitudes between 50 and 90km while the thunderstorms that create them generally top out below 16km so there is a minimum of more than 30km of height ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,550
6 votes
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Why don't lightning strikes cause a lot of injury or damage to property?

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 ...
BarocliniCplusplus's user avatar
5 votes
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How are lightning and thunderstorm intensity linked?

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, ...
hichris123's user avatar
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4 votes

St. Elmo's Fire not dangerous?

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 ...
Shawn's user avatar
  • 171
4 votes

What is the loudest thunder ever recorded (dB) at ground level and where did it occur?

The loudest thunder will be heard where the lightning bolt hits, and this could be about 160 dB for the strongest superbolts. Good places to observe and hear such bolts are on the Mediterranean Sea in ...
David Bailey's user avatar
  • 1,017
4 votes
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What is the best way to stay safe while photographing lightning storms?

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, ...
ceeboosh's user avatar
3 votes

Why do clouds have ceilings and bases?

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 ...
BarocliniCplusplus's user avatar
3 votes

Why don't lightning strikes cause a lot of injury or damage to property?

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 ...
f.thorpe's user avatar
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3 votes

Are there places with rain and snow but no lightning and thunder?

Although most thunderstorms produce rain, most rain does not have associated lightning, so one should expect that there are places with rain and snow but little lightning and thunder. From an eyeball ...
David Bailey's user avatar
  • 1,017
3 votes

Why do clouds have ceilings and bases?

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 ...
Earth Science Expatriate's user avatar
3 votes
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Are lightning storms more common at night?

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). ...
Sip's user avatar
  • 81
2 votes

Snow thunderstorms

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 ...
Knob Scratcher's user avatar
2 votes
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Could a large burst of super-heated or super-cooled air cause tornadoes to fall apart?

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 ...
userLTK's user avatar
  • 5,887
2 votes

Are lightning storms more common at night?

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 ...
JeopardyTempest's user avatar
2 votes
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Why do clouds have ceilings and bases?

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 ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 3,936
2 votes

Thunderstorms vs Thundershowers

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 ...
Exi's user avatar
  • 216
2 votes

Average thunderstorm days for each month

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 ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
2 votes

What causes thunderstorms to develop in the early dawn hours?

Do you have a specific date and time that comes to mind? There are a couple of different causes of nocturnal convection that I immediately think of. I'll list a few, and expand on the one that I think ...
BarocliniCplusplus's user avatar
1 vote

Are thunderstorms normal at the end of a heat wave?

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 ...
eAndy's user avatar
  • 131
1 vote

Average thunderstorm days for each month

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 ...
JeopardyTempest's user avatar
1 vote

Conditions of Thunderstorms

For lightning to form there has to be a rising current of air within the cloud, carrying ice crystals and water droplets upwards. The droplets become hail, and start to fall as the air becomes thinner,...
Michael Walsby's user avatar
1 vote

Thunderstorms in Mountains

I presume you mean if one were a substantial distance away from a lightning strike in the mountains, would it be heard better or worse by another observer the same distance away in the plains and ...
Michael Walsby's user avatar
1 vote

What percentage of cumulonimbus clouds create lightning?

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 ...
Hiddenguy's user avatar
  • 105
1 vote

Why don't lightning strikes cause a lot of injury or damage to property?

A big part of this is that lightning strikes are easy to protect against using lightning rods on buildings and metal framing with conductive tires on cars In terms of fatalities, the truth is ...
Harrychink's user avatar
1 vote

How far away can you see a thunderstorm?

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 ...
Stephen Anderson's user avatar
1 vote

How far away can you see a thunderstorm?

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 ...
Leeroy's user avatar
  • 11

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