Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for . . .

Image source: John Fowler


Lightning. KA-POW!

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.)

31 comments:

  1. Fascinating about the tree sap! I don't mind a good storm as long as my family and I are all safe and sound inside. :)

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  2. I LOVE the fulgurite! It might be the coolest thing ever! My beloved dog who passed away in February was terrified of both thunder and lightning. He would sense a storm before we humans could hear or see any sign of it, and would crawl into the nearest lap (he weighed 50 pounds) and stay there until it was all over.

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  3. I do like a good lightening and thunderstorm as long as it doesn't cause any damage. It does scare me though to be outside during it, so of course I'll seek shelter when the storm is upon us (if I can of course). I had a second cousin whose husband got struck my lightening and died. He was carrying a metal cooler, as they were at a park for a picnic, and he got struck.

    We did have some good storms when we lived in Montana and New Mexico :)

    betty
    http://viewsfrombenches.blogspot.com/

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  4. I enjoy a good thunderstorm as long as I am safe inside. We had one yesterday actually. It was weird because it started with no rain and just thunder and then the really heavy drops started and out came the lightning too.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  5. Interesting facts about lightning! I didn't know it actually made trees explode. I'm ok with thunderstorms as long as I'm inside.

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  6. So true about the tree exploding, my grandparents lost a prize bull that way. He took shelter under a tree and when it went, so did he. So never, ever, run for cover under a tree!
    I love watching storms, they're fascinating!

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  7. I do love a good thunderstorm, we dont seem to get them like we did in the good old days. I always run outside at watch the sky but folk think I'm mad.

    And thank you yet again for revisiting my blog I am not used to strangers turning up more than once. And as I have said before good luck with the A to Z the tricky bit is yet to come

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  8. I do love a good thunderstorm and we don't get enough of them in Michigan. I missed it at my parents' house, but one day my dad was on the porch watching a storm when lightening hit a tree that was 30 feet away.

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  9. I admit it. I'm a scaredy cat in a thunderstorm. My little dog too :)

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  10. I really do love lightening. My mother claimed that a bolt of lightening went straight through her house--in one window and out the other--and she felt like she had been shocked just by its nearness.

    #AtoZchallenge
    Meet My Imaginary Friends

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  11. I love to see lightning, but I also have a healthy fear of it. I live on the edge of a forest and when lightning strikes I'm always concerned about fire.

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  12. Lightening scared me as a child. Interesting facts. Great post!!

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  13. It's scary that it can explode a tree. I've gotten some good lightning shots over the years, but it's still a little nervy when they roll through NC as strong ones can produce tornadoes.

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  14. if i can watch it through the window from inside, lightning is beautiful

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  15. I do enjoy thunderstorm and have seen lightning explode a tree. I have been scared a few times--worse experience was coming off Muir Pass in California with lightning striking all around and trying to squat low and wait it out.

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  16. There was some guy who was hit by lightning twice and died and came back. He wrote a book about his near-death experience. The funny part was, when he went on talk shows to discuss it, they said he kept killing the batteries in his mic pack. They had to keep replacing the batteries throughout the show.

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  17. I used to work with a woman who had been hit by lightning...twice! So it's totally not true that lightning doesn't strike twice! I find lightning both scary and fascinating.

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  18. I love a good thunderstorm. I find is so exhilarating. thanks for giving so many interesting facts.

    a short story with 4 neglected words!

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  19. Wow! Lightning can be very woo-woo.

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  20. I don't mind thunderstorms and even like to hear the rain. Lightning is another story. There's a tree in our pasture that was struck by lightning several years ago. The only thing left if the trunk, about half as tall as it was. When I saw that, I understood why they tell you not to stand under a tree. Interesting information on lightning. Thanks.

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  21. I like the petrified lightning, that's cool! I have enjoyed watching thunderstorms since I was a kid, but in Oklahoma, thunderstorms sometimes lead to tornados. So, I'm more scared of them than I used to be.

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  23. I love the picture of lighting, but oh boy! what an experience you had, sounds scary! I love your blog, I'm going to follow you.

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  24. I love the picture of lighting, but oh boy! what an experience you had, sounds scary! I love your blog, I'm going to follow you.

    www.mylifewithphotographs.com from A to Z challenge

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  25. These are very cool facts about lightning. I'm not afraid of lightning but I had an aunt - a farmer - who was terrified of lightning and would go into a tizzy whenever anyone was out on the fields in a tractor during a storm.

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  26. I find lightning to be so amazing and romantic. It is beautiful and fierce. And I cannot believe that there is a place where it strikes 300 nights per year!

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  27. Nice post. Lightning has always fascinated me. I can remember as a kid, sitting facing a field during a thunderstorm, camera at the ready with hopes of reacting quickly enough to catch an awesome bolt on film. Amazing how different that game has become just a short time later. (Well, not THAT short, I guess...)

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  28. Awesome.
    One of the reasons we built a big porch was to sit out there during storms. It so cool.

    Heather

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I will do everything in my power to visit commenter's blogs unless I've been abducted by aliens or my children get sick. (If my children get abducted by aliens, I will be very busy, of course, catching up on my sleep.)