Throughout the ages, man has feared lightning, but yet was in awe of its spectacular light show that it puts on. When we see that a storm is on the horizon, and it’s one of those balmy summer days, you can always bet there are going to be some lightning to be seen. Just how spectacular it may be, depends on how much of what causes lightning to occur in the first place.
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To most it is a mystery. They can’t quite get a grasp on how or why they are able to see streaks of lightning followed by a thunderous clap. To them, it’s just there. It’s mother nature putting on a display for all to see, and I might say, fear as well. Others however have a more inquisitive nature, and either ask the question, or do research about lightning, and why or how it occurs.
Once explained, it doesn’t quite satisfy some, but fully satisfies others. Those who don’t get it are just not able to grasp scientific answers. However for those who are able to, then a simple explanation of what goes on will provide an better understanding of this natural phenomena.
When liquid and ice particles in the upper atmosphere collide, they build up electrical fields in the clouds. When large enough, a huge “spark” occurs just like static electricity. You produce the same when you walk around with socks on and it’s dry and cold, you touch something and you get a spark as the energy is released from you to the surface you touch. It can happen between clouds as well as between the cloud and air, or between the cloud and ground. As the storm intensifies, so does the charge.
At times you’ll see a bolt come out of the side of the storm, which then strikes somewhere else miles down its path. The known temperature of a lightning bolt can reach as high as 40,000 to 50,000 degrees F which is even hotter than the surface of the sun which when you think of it, pretty intense.
Lighting is responsible for many of the forest fires, as well has home fires, and contrary to what many think, lightning doesn’t come from the sky down to earth, it actually starts on the ground and moves upward. This is done so fast that the eye does not really see it happen. That’s about it. Any further description is just padding an answer to describe the same.