Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Thunderstorms 101

Winter thunderstorms do happen, but they are rare because the air is more stable. Strong updrafts cannot form because the surface temperatures during the winter are colder.  Did you know that a winter thunderstorm is called a thundersnow? That's my Severe Weather 101 learning for today.  Or is it?  What about summer thunderstorms? There is a lot to learn there.

We had rain last night with lightning and a little thunder, and it has started again just now.  That signals summer for me - that's when we get our thunderstorms.  Lightning is generated in clouds with strong vertical updrafts. Thunder is the acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere.  Thunderstorms can line up in a series and become what's known as a trainband or squall line.  Where would we live in the world to experience the most thunder?
Venezuela, Zulia is the world leader in thunderstorms;
"The most persistent and most spectacular thunderstorm in the world is Catatumbo Lightning. This is nearly continuous thunderstorm with up to 20,000 flashes of lightning per night, seen 140 - 160 nights per year and lasting approximately 10 hours long. It produces approximately 10% of tropospheric ozone in the world." Located along the Andes Mountains, it is the largest lake in South America and is situated in such a way that mountain breezes tangle with warm lake air.

treehugger.com lists the top ten hotspots ranked and listed by average lightning flashes per square kilometre per year.  It looks like the Republic of Congo is the dominant location for this weather phenomenon:
1. Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela: 232.52
2. Kabare, Democratic Republic of Congo: 205.31
3. Kampene, Democratic Republic of Congo: 176.71
4. Caceres, Colombia: 172.29
5. Sake, Democratic Republic of Congo: 143.21
6. Dagar, Pakistan: 143.11
7. El Tarra, Colombia: 138.61
8. Nguti, Cameroon: 129.58
9. Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo: 129.50
10. Boende, Democratic Republic of Congo: 127.52

Our weather highlights say that showers and thunderstorms are skimming through southern Ontario Monday night and Tuesday.  Then we're on to a warm weekend.

Our Niagara orchards on on display today.

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