A Rainy Sundy

 General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on A Rainy Sundy
Aug 182013

It has been overcast all day, and rainy for a good portion of the afternoon, and now into the evening. Normally I love these kinds of Sunday afternoons, but this weekend I’m feeling anxious about some things, so I haven’t been able to relax and enjoy it.

I’m waking up early, and not able to get back to sleep.

It didn’t help that at 2:30 this morning I was jarred awake by one of the loudest thunderclaps I have ever heard. It was only one clap, but I would swear it moved the house off the foundation. Lay was still up in the back room, and said the flash was bright. I looked at all the trees today, and none in our yard look hit.

Hopefully things will settle back to normal in the next couple of days, and I can get back to normal.

Can you really count the seconds between lightening and thunder to determine how far away it is?

 Fun Stuff, General, Science, Weather  Comments Off on Can you really count the seconds between lightening and thunder to determine how far away it is?
May 302006

I’ve always heard the wives tell that you count the seconds between seeing a lightening flash and the sound of the thunder to figure out how far away it is. Living here in Florida, we get lots of both. So is it true or an old wives tale?

Thunder is the sound of rapidly heated air expanding and vibrating, and shock waves. Light travels faster than sound, so we see the lightning before we hear the resulting thunder. Using the speeds of light and sound as well as the atmospheric conditions, you could calculate exactly how far away the storm is.

Chances are you’re not going to have a calculator handy during a storm. However you can approximate the storm’s distance in miles by counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder and dividing by five. It takes about five seconds for the sonic boom to travel one mile, so if you see the sky illuminated by a streak of lightning and count 10 seconds until you hear the low rumble of the thunder, the storm is about two miles away.

Of course, lightning is dangerous, so it’s always a good idea to seek shelter before you stop to count seconds. Otherwise, it might be your final countdown.