It's finally summertime and I can't wait to witness some storms. There's nothing better than going outside on a warm summer night and watching a storm roll in. You can hear the thunder in the distance and watch as the lightning gets closer and closer.
In reality though, I didn't know much about what I was watching. I did some research to learn about what I was seeing. So here are 10 facts I found interesting about thunderstorms.
1. Approximately 2,000 thunderstorms are happening right nowGiphy
Right now, as you read this, there are approximately 2,000 thunderstorms happening on Earth. The severity of the storms vary, but most commonly a storm includes rain, lightning, and thunder. More intense storms will have hail, damaging winds, and in extreme cases, cause tornadoes.
2. What causes a thunderstorm?Giphy
Thunderstorms happen when warm, damp air rises into cold air. As the warm air becomes colder, it forms water vapor which turns into rain drops. The cold air will drop into the lower atmosphere, gets warm, and rises again. This process keeps happening, creating a convection cell and eventually forming into a storm cloud, which leads to a thunderstorm.
3. Convection cellsGiphy
A thunderstorm only needs one convection cell to form. These one-cell thunderstorms are call single-cell storms. Sometimes storms happen due to multiple convection cells, but it is not necessary.
4. Raindrops can hurtGiphy
Raindrops can be upwards to the size of a housefly. They tend to fall at around 18 miles per hour which is why rain can leave the feeling of stinging on your skin.
5. Lightning is just electricityGiphy
Thunderstorms usually produce lightning. Lightning is an electric current within the cloud in the sky caused by millions of frozen raindrops bumping into each other. Lightning can be five times hotter than the sun's surface.
6. Lightning can be dangerousGiphy
Lightning kills about 33 people and injures 234 people annually. The chances of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 600,000.
7. Thunder is caused by lightningGiphy
A lightning bolt travels through a channel — which is an opening in the cloud. Once the lightning strikes, the opening in the cloud closes, causing the sound wave of thunder.
8. You can see lightning before you hear thunderGiphy
Lightning can be seen up to 100 miles away, but you can only hear thunder up to 15 miles away.
9. Avoid showering during a thunderstormGiphy
You should avoid showering during a thunderstorm with lightning. Lightning can strike your home and can electrify the water in your pipes. If you're showering, you are more likely to be electrocuted. (This isn't a myth like most people think!)
10. Florida experiences the most stormsGiphy
Florida witnesses the most thunderstorms out of any state. They see 80 to 100 on an annual basis. The east coast is also more likely to have thunderstorms than the west coast.