By now many of you know that I titled this blog “Stormy Musings” because it references a nickname my grandpa gave me a child. I was hell on wheels as a toddler and had a tendency to be very difficult. Perhaps I’ll start telling a few of those stories some time soon here. They’re fairly amusing, especially because I’m nothing like that now. Go figure.
Truth is, another part of why it’s “stormy” is because of my love of a good, rainy night. As a kid I always loved to watch thunderstorms form and then just cut loose. I loved the lightning the most, hence the lightning picture on my home page. It’s like fireworks but in my eyes better because it’s natural and unpredictable. It’s incredibly dangerous but I seem to overlook that pretty regularly. I can’t help myself. I had at one time entertained the idea of being a meteorologist and even declared it my major in college. I then realized it would never come to be because well, I hate math and there’s a lot of math involved. It’s a total bummer but oh well. At least I can write about it.
I was reminded to discuss it because last night there was an excellent thunderstorm happening out here! The desert doesn’t get much rain or have many thunderstorms but when they happen, they are spectacular! If you want a good look at a few photos I took of thunderheads out this way, please feel free to view this. Not all the photos there are storms, but I’m sure you smart folks will figure it out.
As I lay in bed, trying to fall asleep but failing because of the random flashes of light pouring through my window, I remembered my one sort-of experience as a storm chaser with my dad (not wise but a lot of fun… for me). My mom was attending a community college at the time to get her degree and she was in class. There was a big storm that was happening out near her college, north of where we lived. My dad offered to drive so we hopped into his little pick up truck and drove so we could see the lightning. I had a grand time as we got closer and closer. My dad started to panic a little more, as the strikes became closer and more frequent. Finally by the time we saw a huge strike and came upon a downed power line that was on fire just after that strike, dad said it was time to get home. He felt like we were in a tin can asking for trouble. Perhaps we were but I loved it. I don’t think he remembers it so fondly though.
Because I’m all for using most of my posts as a means to educate in some way this month as part of my theme, here’s a few things about lightning (coming from memory and mostly Wikipedia):
• Lightning is about electrostatic discharge; what I remember learning is there’s essentially an imbalance of electrons and protons in the air. Lightning results from the meeting of the two. What Wikipedia says: it usually happens when there is a mixture of warm and cold air resulting in atmospheric disturbances that polarize the atmosphere. Other conditions such as volcanic eruptions can cause lightning also.
• There are three basic types of lightning: cloud to ground, intra-cloud (within itself) and cloud to cloud. (Wikipedia)
• According to Wikipedia, lightning occurs approximately 40-50 times a second worldwide, resulting in nearly 1.4 billion flashes every year. Wow!
• While we’re generally used to what are referred to as negative lightning, positive can happen. The best example of this is when lightning seems to strike out of the blue (in clear skies). This happens because the positive charges that initiate these strikes originate from the top of the “anvil” and may travel horizontally for miles before heading toward the earth. Again, according to Wikipedia, this type makes up about 5 percent of strikes.
• I’m not the only one fascinated by lightning or love it for that matter – many cultures reference in sayings or myth. For example: Norse mythology – Thor; Greek God – Zeus; the Hindu God, Indra, etc. “Lightning never strikes twice” is a common saying here. While unlikely due to lightning’s nature, it is possible to strike twice in the same place.. just saying.
There’s lots more to say on the matter but I shall leave it at that for now. I reserve the right to come back to this topic if need be. I will, however, leave you with one of my favorite songs about rainy nights – Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night.” Okay not the most complex or best songs ever, but it describes how I feel to a t!