Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Heat Lightning Tonight!

I had someone point out to me that they could see "heat lightning" NW of them tonight. Many meteorologists say "there is no such thing as heat lightning", but I disagree. If most of the population call it "heat lightning"... than it's something. It's just misnamed. It has nothing to do with how hot it is outside. It's simply a storm that is far away, but because it is so high in the sky, and there is clear sky all around it, you can see it from a far distance. You can't hear it though because of the distance.

The reason it is called heat lighting is because it typically happens in the summer months, when it is hot.

The storm that they were referring to tonight is north of West Plains. Even though it is 100 miles away, we can see the lightning from that storm:
Just like you can see a very tall person in a crowd, storms that have a very high vertical structure can be seen from far away! The storm near West Plains is about 60,000 feet high!
Since there is a mostly clear sky between here and there, we can see the lightning! Even from 100 miles away!
I hope this makes sense... So, when someone says that they see "heat lightning", you can explain to them that it does not have much to do with "heat".

Have a good night!

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