Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What Is Thundersnow ?

How thundersnow occurs.   ( Graphic:  )


        We have had a Winter worse than normal here, which has included some heavy snow, cold weather, and some ice.   We have been fortunate not to have lost power, although there has been a lot of interference and static on the buried landline phones.    This morning, despite my miserable cold, I was up checking on some e-mails when a loud crash outdoors occurred.   There is nothing up here.  I listened for a moment and then more of the sound came.  It was thunder, and then it was followed about a minute later by some impressive lightning.

             We have almost daily thunderstorms in Spring and in Summer here.  In fact, it can be quite dangerous.  In other posts you will see that we had a lightning abatement contractor place a variety of lightning abatement devices on our home and farm outbuildings after one of our adult sons was struck by lightning while actually within a metal roofed substantial farm building. We have learned to be respectful, if not fearful of sudden lightning.   Despite proper grounding of the house, we have also lost a couple of FAX machines over the years.  This has led us to hooking the FAX up only when we intend to send something immediately, and then disconnecting it almost immediately after.

     How common is Winter thunder and lightning or thunder and lightning associated with snow ?   Apparently, strong Winter storms and blizzards can produce lightning strikes. This is called Thundersnow.  This can also occur during freezing rain and then it is termed Thundersleet.    I have read that the Great Lakes Region of the US, and the Eastern United States are areas where this does happen.

( Graphic: )

           The most important take-away from this, is that thunder and lightning are not simply a Spring and Summer phenomenon. They can occur in most places year round.  Don't let yourself or your family members assume that you can go outside and walk across a flat stretch of yard or farm during a thunderstorm simply because it is Winter.   Stay safe, and stay warm !


lotta joy said...

My sister is on her way back from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. She called me on her way back and said "These people have FEET of snow instead of inches!" Funny how we all need some perspective occasionally. Tonight and tomorrow there are tornado watches for southern Indiana.

JaneofVirginia said...

I hope she's home safely now. There are tornado watches for many places today. Stay safe and thank you for posting.