DISCUSSION: As the Northern Hemisphere heads deeper in the Summer of 2018, it is no surprise that thunderstorm occurrence frequency is increasing along with corresponding rising average day-time high temperatures across many parts of the world. More specifically, across the South-Central, Central, and North-Central Plains states of the United States in North America, there is no question that thunderstorm activity frequency experiences a substantial increase. Having said that, one of nature’s greatest natural dangers is the well-known lightning strike.
With severe weather, many people across the United States and many other parts of the world know first-hand about how dangerous lightning can be. First off, it is important to note that an average lightning strike can have a maximum instantaneous temperature of around 53,000 degrees Fahrenheit as opposed to the surface of Earth’s Sun which has a temperature of around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Second, lightning which is most commonly found directly in association with strong to severe thunderstorms in places all over the world can also sometimes strike many miles away from a given thunderstorm cell. Sometimes the reasons for such a displaced electrical discharge away from a given thunderstorm are not perfectly clear, but, the bottom line here is that it can and does happen at times. Thus, when you may have the curiosity during this Summer to go outside and watch an incoming thunderstorm, remember that lightning can strike both unexpectedly and unpredictably in many cases. Hence, always be sure to have the utmost respect for the natural power of thunderstorms during any season regardless of when they may occur.
Remember the old phrase from the NOAA National Weather Service network: “When thunder roars, go indoors.” It may initially seem comical at the face of that phrase, but at some point in your life, this may just end up being a phrase which separates you from encountering a potentially life-threatening experience due to a run-in with one of Mother Nature’s most intense weather phenomena on the planet. Remember that you can always replace a memory card in a camera for the next thunderstorm event, but you can never replace a life.
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© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz