Thunder, Lightning and all things Frightening

Some thundery facts:

–  Although the causes of lightning as still debated amongst scientists, it is generally thought that it is the result of a mass release of static electricity that has built within large cumulonimbus clouds.

–  A single lightning stroke can reach temperatures of up to 20,000 Deg. C. This rapidly heats the air around it causing an immediate and intense increase in air pressure around the bolt. The thunder we hear after a flash of lightning is this narrow ribbon of compressed air exploding outwards.

lightning –    At any one time, there is an average of 20 lightning strikes hitting the earth’s surface each second.

–   Most lightning bolts (around 80%) that occur globally are ‘inter-cloud’ (IC) or cloud to cloud (CC), which means they never strike the earth’s surface

  A single lightning bolt can be up to or even above 3 km in length

–  The long rumbling sound we sometimes hear after a flash is the caused by sound waves from different points of a lightning bolt reaching our ears.

–   General rule of thumb is that the louder and shorter the sound of thunder is, the closer the lightning strike occurred.

–   Java, in the Indonesian islands, records an average of 220 thunder days a year, making it the most thundery place in the world (Source: UK Met Office)


– Fear of thunder is known as ‘Brontophobia’.


Thunderstorms in Ireland

  In Ireland, a typical small thunderstorm will last between 15 – 60 minutes. Larger storms, which occur far less frequently, can last much longer.

–  On average, any one area in the county will experience thunder and lightning on between 4 & 7 days of the year with Straide, in Co. Mayo recording an average of 10 thunder days per year (Source: Sweeney, Martin. ‘Climate of Straide’ 2000.)

–    At inland locations, thunderstorm activity typically peaks in July and August. Coastal regions on the other hand with experience thunderstorms with regular frequency throughout the year. 

–   Notably thundery months in Ireland include July 1964, June 1986 and August 2000

–   We don’t get near enough thunderstorms in Ireland!



Bring it on..

5 thoughts on “Thunder, Lightning and all things Frightening

  1. A tremendous thunderstorm this afternoon between Oldcastle and Kells. I caught a couple of pics but not lucky enough to see or catch a lightening bolt. Catching lightening on camera is on my bucket list; I just love thunderstorms 🙂

    • Can’t beat a good storm for sure Bill; both terrifying and awesome at the same time. Very hard to catch a lightning bolt alright but hopefully there will be ample opportunity to at least try this coming Summer. 🙂

    • The best way to capture lightning flash (bolts is with a video camera that will let you take stills images from the video after; because lightning usually flashes at {200 of a second} at the speed of light 186.000 miles a second, so to fast to capture on a 35mm still’s camera; unless you use a camera with a sensor; that is when the lightning flashes; it will trigger the camera ( thus take a single picture, or shoot at least 3 frames/per sec..)

  2. I love a great thunder storm to, and I’m really longing for a really good one. The last notable one we had was in November 2010. We also had a notable in the early part of this century when it started in the early hours of the morning and lasted till midnight. We also had a notable one in about 1983 and 1985 as well as the ones mentioned above. I think the one in 1986 lasted a whole weekend. I did get Brontophobia after I was watching the television during heavy rain one morning, and I heard crackling in my ariel socket. My first thought was that the ariel was going to blow, and then I saw the blue spark leave the ariel socket, and then saw this blanket of sheet lightning right outside my window with a rumble of thunder right over head. It was terrifying, and even the thought that it was lightning travelling round my ariel socket was also terrifying but now I have got over it, and love a good thunderstorm. So bring the next thunderstorm with plenty of beautiful lightning.

    • Interesting Duncan. That sounds like a unnerving experience alright but glad it did not put you off thunderstorms 🙂

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