Friday, July 10, 2015

Thunderstorms and Lightening

The other day I heard a great educational segment on thunderstorms and lightening on NPR. The segment highlighted that since thunderstorms and lightening strikes were not very common on the west coast, a lot of the older buildings and houses are not equipped to handle them well like their counterparts on the east coast.

And because lightening strikes are relatively rare here, when one occurs it becomes news around the area. The segment mentioned that the most famous one was when lightening struck a tree in an arboretum and caused the tree to explode. The lightening passed through the core of the tree, and generated a lot of energy that heated up the moisture within the bark, and turned it into steam. The steam expanded and turned the tree into projectile shards that flew 30 yards away from the tree and got embedded in the soil. It must have been scary to witness such an event.

The segment ended by offering some practical advice on what to do if you're caught in a thunderstorm outside. Best to be in a car, since the car body will protect you, and if you are no where near, then seek the lowest area you can find and crouch closer to the ground. I don't want to ever use these tips.

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