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That’s Bizarre! The Craziest, Uncommon Weather Phenomenon

Published by Darlene McFarlane in Offbeat
February 29th, 2008

We know that our weather has the ability to wreak havoc when it decides to kick up its heels. We have heard horror stories where tornadoes and hurricanes have torn apart towns, cities, and country sides. Storms so severe that thousands have been left homeless within seconds…their water poisoned, and their lively hood destroyed.

Bad weather has been the cause of death, destruction and mayhem since the beginning of time. It is an ever changing constant in our lives. It is amazing and terrifying, mysterious and mystifying. The one true thing about weather we can surely count on is its unpredictability.

Below are 16 weather facts about weather that may surprise you…

Courtesy of flicker.com/advanced By Allspice1

  1. The speed of which lightning travels is around one hundred million feet per second or seventy million MPH.
  2. While lightning can go in any direction including side ways, the lightning we usually see looks like it comes down to strike the ground but, it actually travels from the ground up.
  3. When powerful lightning hits the ground it is hot enough to melt sand turning it to a glass-like substance. This substance is called fulgerite and is known as fossilized lightning.
  4. The heat of a lightning bolt is five times hotter than the surface of the sun. The sun’s surface is 6,000 degrees centigrade.
  5. Women are six time less likely to be struck by lightning than men. While no one knows for sure why this is, the reason could be that men are often taller and more likely to work outdoors.
  6. The Oak tree is struck more often by lightning than other trees. One Oak tree needs 300 to 500 gallons of water a day. That and the fact that lightning hits trees whose crowns hold more branches such as the Oak tree, seems to be the only explanation.
  7. A “bolt from the blue” phenomenon is when a lightening bolt jumps from its parent or anvil cloud sitting above a thunder storm. The bolt can travel up to 25 miles on a clear day carrying a positive energy charge ten times that of a regular thunder bolt. “Bolt from the blue” lightning is also called “positive lightening” because normally caused lightning usually carries a negative charge.
  8. Astraphobia is the fear of lightning and keraunopathology is the study of lightning.
  9. The hurricane, typhoon, and cyclone spin counterclockwise if they are north of the equator and spin the opposite way when south of the equator.
  10. The word hurricane is derived from the West Indian God of storms whose name was Hurricane.
  11. Dirty snow melts faster than clean snow. Dirty snow contains dirt particles that absorb heat from the sun causing it to melt faster.
  12. When it contains ice crystals, a heavy winter fog is called a Pogonip. The name Pogonip is the Shoshone word for cloud.
  13. Red maple, silver maple, and poplar trees show the backs of their leaves during low air pressure just before it rains.
  14. The channel of electrical current from a lightning bolt is much smaller than we think. It is only about as big around as a pencil.
  15. Lightning can, and has, struck people sitting on the toilet.
  16. Snow is actually colorless ice flakes. When light reflects off the icy crystals, the reflection makes it look white.

Bonus Fact:

If you are struck by lightning, the heat will dry the sweat on your feet so quickly that it can cause the air between your skin and socks to expand. This expansion happens rapidly and is strong enough to blow your shoes and socks off your feet.

Liked it
  1. Lucy Lockett
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Interesting for sure! Very well composed.

  2. IcyCucky
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Great article with fascinating facts..

  3. Joe Poniatowski
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Very interesting and informative, Darlene.

  4. lanne
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Lots of good information. I cant wait for a nice summer thunder storm. Anything beats all this snow.

  5. valli
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Fascinating article.

  6. Gijo George
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Good information. You have thrown light into various facts which otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

  7. Dee Huff
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:31 am

    What an amazing selection of information. I am wiser by far than when I started reading it. Love some of the names for weather conditions. I’d never heard them before. I still can’t get my head around lightening travelling up from the ground rather than vice versa.

  8. Darlene McFarlane
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Thank you all for your comments. I was surprised at some of the information myself while doing my research.

  9. TP Sage
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Wonderful article. Fascinating information.

  10. Ruby Hawk
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Darlene, You have a lot of interesting facts about the weather. I enjoyed reading it. Take care, Ruby

  11. Alexa Gates
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    very interesting.. :)

  12. Josey
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    The picture really helps bring this info to life. Great article. It’s also exciting to see the new site. Great job.
    Best Wishes,

  13. Judy Sheldon
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    This story was en-”lightning”!! Thanks, I learned so much, and was entertained too.

  14. Jared Stenzel
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    I’ve heard some countries occasionally have 100 degree swings in temperature in a single day.

  15. R.B. Parsley
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Loved this article. In fact it was very informative.Now you have picked my interest. No#2 I had heard about several years ago. But the other 15 I didn’t know anything about.Now let me tell you about a phenomenon known as thunder snow. This is something that my sister-in-law and her family had witnessed a couple months ago at they’re home in Peoria Illinois.In fact its extremely rare for it to happen.It occurrs while its snowing. If it thunders it accumilates snow of up to three inches in just a few very short minutes. It sounded interesting, so I thought I’d pass this little tidbit onto you.Excellent article Darlene. I really enjoyed visiting everyone in the Write Room.And now as you may well know, I love to tease.On my dads side of the family, it is a familiar family trait.Tell your squirrels they have nothing to fear.


  16. Anne Lyken-Garner
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 6:49 am

    These are all alarming. Somehow, being struck by lightening on the toilet is the most frightening. What will the paramedics say when they arrive?

  17. Darlene McFarlane
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Randy, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. Weather has always interested me too and when you mentioned the thunder snow (I have not heard of this) it reminded me of an item I meant to include in the article. Snow lightning. It is the most dangerous lightning because it charges the snow flakes with electricity. It’s more apt to start fires than any other lightning.

    I will pass on the good news to my back yard critters. They will be happy to know their little hides are safe.

  18. Darlene McFarlane
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 8:42 am

    I never thought of it that way before, Anne. I think from now on I will get my business over with early and make sure the bathroom window is tightly closed, then hope that the storm will pass quickly.

  19. miriam ramirez
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Great job!

    Posted March 1, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Thanks, Darlene! I learnt so much from you!Take care!

  21. Liane Schmidt
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Such an amazing, unique, great article Darlene! I didn’t realize that lightening came from the ground up…wow. Remarkable.

    Best wishes.


    -Liane Schmidt.

  22. Francie
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Very interesting! So much new information, glad I stopped by. Good job!

  23. Maria Elle
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Absolutely fascinating, truly. Who knew lightning could literally blow your socks off!
    Where did you find out the fact of women being six times less likely to be hit by lightning than men?

  24. Nick Kenney
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    WOW! Fascinating Darlene! And my luck…I’d be the one struck by lightening while siting on the toilet! :)

  25. Ainsley Jo Phillips
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Brrrrrrrrr! What are you trying to do here, anyway!?! Give us all severe cases of astraphobia!?! I hadn’t heard this about the toilet before, but I know that Uncle Don got struck by lightning while he was relaxing in the tub. Of course, the tub was right by a window.

    Aunt Kate said that she thought it hit their chimney because there was a nasty smell coming from their living room space heater afterwards.

    Didn’t do much damage to Uncle Don as he was out doing some painting for us later that evening. I think it felt something like an all-over static electricity shock to him–which isn’t exactly the greatest feeling in the world and one I could live without indefinitely!

  26. Darlene McFarlane
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Ainsley Jo Phillips, What a great story and thank you for sharing with us. I am glad to know that your Uncle Don experienced no ill effects, because as you say, it wouldn’t be a great feeling and it the outcome could have been different.

    Thanks for sharing,

  27. Andy-N
    Posted June 18, 2008 at 4:15 am

    I was struck by this article.

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