Lightning Deaths

On July 10th, the 6th person in the US this year, has died because they were struck by lightning.


Posted under Lightning

This post was written by Schnack on July 17, 2017

Lightning and Golf Do Not Mix

Lightning struck the tee box area at “The Legend at Bergamont” golf course in Oregon, WI


Posted under Lightning, Photo

This post was written by Schnack on July 12, 2017

Does “Heat Lightning” Exist?

The answer is simply, no.  It is a common misconception, and don’t worry, even I thought heat lightning was a “thing” when I was younger.

A lot of times in the summer months, we get several pictures of lightning sent to us with the caption “heat lightning”.  People refer to this as heat lightning, because the sky is mainly clear, and they can see flashes of lightning in the distance, and think it is caused from the heat and humidity.

The truth is pretty simple: All lightning is associated with a thunderstorm.  You are simply seeing the tops of the thunderstorm clouds (and associated lightning) from a distance.  The picture above was taken in Cedar Falls, looking southeast toward storms that popped up in the overnight hours in parts of Tama and Benton counties.  You can see the moon in the right hand corner, indicating the clear sky over Cedar Falls.

So why can’t you hear the thunder?  You are only able to hear thunder if you are within 10-15 miles from a storm.  You can see lightning up to one hundred miles away from a storm (the speed of light is faster than the speed of sound).

That being said, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the thunderstorm, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.  As the saying goes, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.”


Posted under Lightning, Photo, Weather Trivia

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on July 7, 2017

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Lightning strike near Independence Wednesday (Photo: Danny Murphy)


Posted under Lightning

This post was written by Schnack on June 29, 2017


Lightning from storms in Monona Monday evening.


Posted under Lightning, Photo

This post was written by Schnack on May 23, 2017

1st Lightning Fatality of 2017

The first lightning fatality of 2017 happened on Sunday in Colorado.

Click here for lightning safety information.


Posted under Lightning

This post was written by Schnack on May 8, 2017


This photo was taken Wednesday evening as storms moved through Nashua.


Posted under Lightning, Photo

This post was written by Schnack on April 20, 2017

Lightning Strikes a Tree

Lightning struck a tree about 6:30 PM Thursday in Calmar (Winneshiek County). There were no injuries or loss of power. Here are a few screen captures of video from Kristine Kriener Kulish of the tree in her backyard.



Posted under Lightning

This post was written by Schnack on March 23, 2017

ICYMI Nov 17- Earth from Mars/ Earthquake Aftermath/ Records/ Lightning

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab released this photo of Earth… seen from Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars!

Earth from Mars Curiosity Rover Credit NASA JPL

As you may recall, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand, killing two people.  Scientists say that because of the quake, the seabed lifted nearly two meters (6 feet) in the city of Kaikoura of South Island.  Read more here, and see aerial shots of New Zealand before and after the earthquake.

new zealand

Today might be the last day we see high temperatures like this again for awhile. Cedar Rapids and Iowa City tied the record. Des Moines reached 76 degrees (previous record 75 1941).

Record Highs vs Actual DMA High Today3D



Posted under Astronomy, Earthquake, Lightning, NASA, Records, Temperatures

This post was written by Eileen Loan on November 17, 2016

ICYMI Oct 3… Hurricane Sprites/Extra Launches/Northern Lights/October Normals

Something strange this way comes… or shows up on a far away camera from a hurricane.

Hurricane Matthew is churning through the Caribbean,producing tons of rain with winds of 130 mph as it tracks to the north. On Saturday, it also produced a phenomena that is rarely caught on camera…. sprites!

Sprites are essentially lightning bolts that go out the top of a thunderstorm. They are usually weak and not often seen and are usually a red color.  They last a very short time and are hard to catch on camera. Which is why the fact that at least 28 of them were caught on camera on Saturday is an amazing feat!

There is a little more from The Weather Channel at this link.  More color photos on another post from The Weather Channel are here.


With the first Monday in the books, let’s look at the October averages and extremes for the month.


October ALO Almanac


October DBQ Almanac



Every 12 hours certain National Weather Service offices around the country send a balloon (radiosonde)  in the sky to gather valuable data. The stars on the map below show where the balloons are launched from.

After the data from the balloon is sent back to the office it is then put into computers to help with the forecast.  The idea is, the more current and reliable data you get into the calculations, the  forecast output (forecast information) would be closer to reality. Now because of Matthew, a large hurricane forecast to run up the east coast this week, they are putting more balloons in the sky. The sites along the east coast are launching  them every 6 hours. The map shows you the sites with the two extra launches per day.


Here is a view of Hurricane Matthew Monday from the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is 250 miles above the storm.

4Below is the video as the ISS passes over the hurricane.  (video speed 4x)


Posted under Climate, Lightning, NASA, Space Station, Tropics

This post was written by Eileen Loan on October 3, 2016