Most of us may have never seen a hurricane up close due to its immense threat to human lives. But we have all wondered what the phenomenon is. In this article, we will discuss whether hurricanes produce lightning.
Yes, hurricanes produce lightning. Thunderstorms are common during hurricanes, causing the area to experience lightning and thunder. A hurricane provides the right environment for the electrical charges in the clouds to build up, gain higher energy, and discharge electricity.
For more information on this, please continue reading.
A hurricane is a large, powerful storm that brings strong winds, rain, and storm surges. Storm surges cause low pressure and strong winds. Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters near the equator, fueled by the water’s heat and moisture.
Once formed, the hurricane begins moving; depending on the moisture it gets in different parts of the ocean, the storm grows in size or diminishes. Hurricanes continue to move toward the land and can cause massive destruction based on the storm’s intensity.
However, luckily, hurricanes can be forecasted, and proactive measures and adequate planning can mitigate the risk of damage.
Lightning is a powerful electrical discharge that occurs during thunderstorms. The clouds that are formed during thunderstorms have electrical charges in them, but these are relatively weaker.
When the clouds grow and gain strength, the charges also gain strength. The charge increases so much that the electric charge causes electricity to be discharged within parts of clouds. This discharge is called lightning.
This displays as a flash of bright, white light within the clouds. Lightning can prove to be fatal because the electric charge is high enough to set fire and electrocute people and things. People dying, poles falling, and trees burning are highly common in areas that experience thunderstorms.
Do Hurricanes Produce Lightning?
Hurricanes contain strong updrafts and downdrafts, which are powerful currents of rising and sinking air. As the air moves within the hurricane, it can create areas of positive and negative electrical charges. These charges form an electric field that generates lightning. The lighting may be within the hurricane or between some parts of the hurricane.
The lighting in a hurricane is more intense than in thunderstorms and is more frequent and dangerous. This is because lightning gets its most optimal environment for development.
As we discussed lightning and its strong electric charges, we need to understand that it carries heat. When a lightning bolt moves through the clouds or air, it suddenly increases its temperature of it, and when it passes, the temperature suddenly lowers.
This rapid change causes the air to expand and send a shock wave through the atmosphere. This shock wave creates the loud booming sound that we call thunder. You will experience the lightning bolt before you can hear the thundering sound.
The distance between you and the lightning can be estimated by counting the seconds between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder. Each second represents roughly one-fifth of a mile or one-third of a kilometer.
Does Thunder Accompany The Lightning In Hurricanes?
Yes! Lightning mainly occurs with thunder. The absence of thunder when lightning strikes is a very rare occurrence. In a hurricane, the rumbling sound of thunder can be heard after a lightning bolt is seen.
Precaution In A Hurricane
If you have found yourself in an area where a hurricane has hit or is forecasted, below are some necessary steps that you must take.
Stay Indoors – It is essential to stay within enclosed spaces like a building and not wander outdoors. The hurricane’s intensity may be high and cause severe damage to you.
Secure Your Home – The ideal plan of action in a hurricane is evacuation. However, some hurricanes do not call for them because of their smaller size and intensity. If you’re not evacuating, you must secure your place.
You can do this by boarding up windows, reinforcing doors, and bringing in outdoor furniture and other items that could become projectiles in high winds.
Stock Up On Supplies – You must prepare for at least a week that is to come. Amp up your supplies of food, water, nonperishable goods, and other tools like flashlights and first aid kits.
Stay Informed – Listen to local news and weather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities. Pay attention to evacuation orders, and have a plan in case you need to evacuate.
Prepare For Flooding – Hurricanes can bring heavy rainfall and storm surges, which can cause flooding. If you live in a flood-prone area, be prepared to evacuate if necessary, and move to higher ground if flooding occurs.
Have A Plan – Sit down with your family and devise a functional plan that mentions the plan of action when in an emergency. This also includes the evacuation plan.
Preventive Measures During Lightning And Thunder
Seek Shelter – The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a sturdy building or a fully enclosed vehicle. Avoid open areas, tall objects, and bodies of water.
Avoid Electronic Devices – Do not use electronic devices during a thunderstorm, including computers, televisions, and corded phones. Lightning can travel through electrical and phone lines and can cause injury or damage to devices.
Stay Away From Windows And Doors – Avoid standing near windows or doors during a thunderstorm; they can shatter due to the pressure from lightning strikes.
Wait For The Storm To Pass – Wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going outside. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away, so waiting until the storm has completely passed is safest for you.
Now that we know that hurricanes are accompanied by lightning, we can better understand the extent of damage that they may cause to both property and humans. Hence, it is important to take all the necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of your loved ones and yourself.