There are many accounts of seeing lightning in volcanic eruptions, in large hurricanes, in heavy snowstorms, and even in intense forest fires. The air near a strike is superheated to a temperature of 50,000°F (27,760°C), which is hotter than the sun’s surface! A lightning strike contains so much energy that it can light a 100-watt light bulb for three months. The largest level of lightning activity was recorded on December 1, 2014, in a thunderstorm in India. A voltage of 1.3 billion volts was recorded by scientist Sunil Gupta at Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. His measurement remains the highest ever voltage recorded, and was ten times bigger than any previously measured storm. Thundersnow Lightning and thunder can occur inside a heavy snowstorm. This is called thundersnow , and it only occurs under a specific set of weather conditions. It is so rare, there are only about six thundersnow events each year. In early spring, the air under clouds is warmer near the ground, and this helps to create a cumulonimbus cloud tower. This cloud must be lower than a typical thunderstorm, and the air must still be cold enough to form snow. These conditions favor thunder and lightning in cold weather, and the lightning appears to be purple and blue. Actually, lightning can appear as many different colors. In snowstorms, it can even appear to be pink or green as dust, moisture, and raindrops affect the color by absorbing or diffracting light. Thundersnows typically occur in Canada, Japan, parts of northwestern Europe, and on Mount Everest, but can also be created when frigid air sweeps over the warm water of an unfrozen body of water, like the Great Lakes. Thundersnow can pose an even greater risk to people. The snow muffles the thunder, so people don’t often hear the thunder as a warning sign that a storm is approaching. Snow falls rapidly and can quickly lead to poor visibility. Thundersnow can also have


Storm Events

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