Thunderstorms usually happen on a hot, summer’s day when the air is warm and sticky. Watch out for huge, dark, tall thunderclouds gathering in the sky. They’re a sure sign a storm’s brewing. Time to head indoors!
What makes thunder rumble?
Lightning is incredibly hot, about five times hotter than the Sun’s surface. As it streaks through the sky, it heats the air so quickly that it makes a loud booming sound. This is the sound of thunder.
Where do thunderstorms begin?
Thunder starts in cumulonimbus clouds. They turn the sky purply black and blue. Some of these clouds are massive. The tallest can grow 18 kilometers high. That’s more than twice the height of Mt Everest.
Is it true?
Lightning happens before thunder.
- They happen at exactly the same time. But you see lightning before you hear thunder because light travels more quickly than sound.
The Vikings believed that thunder was caused by the bad-tempered god, Thor, hurling his hammer across the sky.
What makes lightning flash?
Inside a thundercloud, strong winds hurl droplets of water around. They bump and bash into each other. This makes the cloud crackle with static electricity which builds up and suddenly streaks through the sky as lightning. Lightning can flash inside clouds or from cloud to ground.
Park ranger, Roy C. Sullivan, was struck by lightning a record seven times. He suffered burns, singed hair and eyebrows, and he even lost his toenails!
Does lightning ever strike twice?
Yes, it does. The Empire State Building is struck about 500 times a year! Many tall buildings, such as churches and skyscrapers, have lightning conductors to carry the electricity of the lightning safely away.
What is ball lightning?
Lightning comes in different shapes, such as forked, sheet and ribbon lightning. Ball lightning looks like a ball of fire. People have seen balls of lightning float into their house, then explode with a bang.
Is it true?
Lightning takes the slowest path to the ground.
- It takes the quickest. That’s why you should never shelter under a tall tree during a storm. If the lightning strikes the tree, you might get fried.
Where do avalanches strike?
Avalanches strike on snow-covered mountainsides. A huge slab of snow and ice suddenly breaks loose and crashes downhill. Avalanches can slide at speeds of up to 320 kph, as fast as a racing car, as hundreds of tonnes of snow hurtle down the slope.
Can people survive avalanches?
Avalanches are deadly. They can bury people, cars and whole villages in their path. Victims suffocate under the snow unless they’re rescued quickly. Rescue teams use specially trained dogs to sniff survivors out.
In World War 1, soldiers fighting each other in the Alps used avalanches as weapons. They fired guns at the mountainsides to set off killer avalanches.
Is it true?
Yodelling can set off an avalanche.
YES. In some Swiss mountain villages yodelling is banned in spring in case it sets an avalanche off. You’re not allowed to shout or sing loudly either, in case the vibrations of sound waves I in the air shake and loosen the snow, to start an avalanche. ‘