Image source: John Fowler
About two weeks ago, I was standing in line with my family for The Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disney's Magic Kingdom when a storm hit. We had a good roof over our heads, but the sides were open to the elements. As we shuffled through the maze of chains, the rain pounded down with a vengeance. For the first time that day, we were happy to be stuck in a slow-moving line.
Then lightning struck super close, sounding like a pirate had fired a cannon over our heads. Everyone screamed, and one guy shouted, "WHOOO-WEE!! I bet that woke you up!" We all laughed and it was okay, but man, I felt that one in my bones.
Here's some cool stuff about lightening (taken from Reader's Digest - 6 Weird Facts About Lightning and Wikipedia):
1. Someone struck by lightening may get a red rash on their skin in a branching pattern called a Lichtenberg figure. (Click here for photo of man's arm with this pattern.)
Image source: Timo Newton-Syms
2. If lightening hits a tree, it can explode. Why? One theory is that the massive amount of electrical charge vaporizes the sap and the steam causes the explosion.
3. When lightening hits the ground, the minerals can fuse together to form a fulgurite or petrified lightning. There are how-to videos and articles for making your own with a lightning rod and bucket of sand. Here's an example of an "artificial" fulgurite:
Image source: yoyoj3d1
4. A record-setting area for the most strikes per year is located in Venezuela at the intersection of the Catatumbo River and Lake Maracaibo. Here, the warm trade winds from the Caribbean Sea mix with cool air descending from the Andes causing lightning to flash more than 300 nights a year.
Do you like a good thunder storm? Ever worried about being struck by lightning?
(I am also posting over at the Parallels blog today. You can experience an online chat with Lily Reynolds, the main character of my short story, Scrying the Plane. This story, along with nine other mind-blowing tales of alternate universes, will be released May 3 in Parallels, Felix Was Here.)