Heat and Storms Go Hand-in-Hand

There is a term in meteorology for heat related thunderstorms. It is called thermodynamic. It comes from the Greek with thermo meaning heat and dynamic energy. Add it up and it refers to the ability of the atmosphere to generate thunderstorms when a heat wave is building in.

Well, this Sunday night, thunderstorms with vivid lightning streaks, cannon shots of thunder and drought relieving rains are scattered thru the region. The area from I-64 south into the Coalfields saw this action early thus Sunday evening (just where Justin said it would) with cells wandering north of the Interstate after sunset.

The setup is simple. A blazingly hot air mass chock full of sweltering humidity is about to invade our little corner of the world. On the nose of this hot air, thunderstorms have ignited this Sunday afternoon and evening. Power hits and brief street flooding will be widely scattered.

Of course the punch line to this set up is the scorching heat wave that will introduce an unbearably hot period to start the new work week. Afternoon highs are heading into the mid 90s by Tuesday-Wednesday with heat indices (combination of temperature and humidity) near 100.

If you were unlucky and missed out on the Sunday evening action, the risk of a heat generated storm will continue daily, though by week’s end as the heat wave ends, we have our best chance at soaking rains.

One final word, if you saw heat lightning this Sunday evening, here’s the skinny. Those heat related storms may be too far away to give your area rain, but on a hot summer night, you can see lightning flickering in the sky in Ironton from bolts as far away as say Huntington or Louisa or even Charleston. As you educate the kids about heat lightning, tell them the speed of the lightning stroke’s light (186,000 miles per second) is much faster than the sound of the thunder (travels at speed of sound or 1100 feet per second). This accounts for why you see more lightning than you hear thunder.


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