Thursday, September 15, 2011


My ex-roommate is a tornado-chaser.  Well, not really, but he does love to watch thunderstorms.  I never understood that.  Being born and raised in a big city, I never learned to appreciate storms.  We could not see the lightning, only the glow.  And then I landed in the midwest where there's no high-rise buildings to block the view.  I remember seeing lightning for the first time from sky to the ground, just like it in the movies.  It was amazing.  Thunderstorms came by quite often in the midwest where we lived.  Just like everything else, when there's an abundance, you just take it for granted.  Here in Cali, at least this part of Cali, there's no storms.  Really, there may be rain, but storms, never.  At least not the midwest definition of storms.

A few nights ago, on our way home from dinner, we saw flashes and thought we heard an airplane.  It wasn't an airplane, it was thunder and the flashes lightning!  Now, what comes next, children?  Rain!  I have never felt this way about rain.  I felt like we were brought back home.  It was such a familiar feeling.  We sat on the porch and watched the rain.

After a few minutes of that, the kids were soaked.  We came inside the house and had to listen to Madonna's Rain.

"Rain... feel it on my fingertips, hear it on my window pane..."

No, we didn't.  What we did do was to google about lightning and here's what we learned.

  • Thunderstorms too have their favorites places
  • Highest lightning flash frequency is 159 flashes per year in Central Africa
  • Florida has the highest flash frequency in the United States
  • Our part of the country is a Tiffany blue (at least we got the pretty color) which means we only get two lightning flashes on average in a year per square kilometer
  • The mid-west gets 30 lightning flashes on average in a year per square kilometer

HRFC (High Resolution Full Climatology) Annual Flash Rate
The color variations in the map display the average annual number of lightning flashes per square kilometer.

To find out more about lightning and thunders, go to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration) website.


  1. I love a good thunderstorm! Very interesting, Winnie, to read someone's perspective of thunderstorms who wasn't raised to see them like we do here in Kansas. It's a trade-off, I'm sure. You probably have seen a lot more of the sunshine in CA than we have the last week or so. Interesting about the lightening flashes as well, I could have sworn we'd get much more than 30!

  2. That brought back my memory of the first thunder storm in Midwest. I was with you, it was on our way to the university from the airport! I can almost feel the smell of the storm in the air now.... It has been so long being a Californian.

  3. Amber, the sun is so strong here. We have to wear sunscreen pretty much all year round. I'm actually yearning for a cloudy, rainy day. Peggy, yes, the highway was pitch dark and then we saw the lightning bolts. The image is unforgettable. How neat we share this experience together!


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