How Close Was The Lightning?

Last night, we experienced heavy rains accompanied by series of strong lightning bolts followed by loud thunder claps. To make matters worse, electricity went out and the flashes of light seemed stronger than ever.

Lightning was closely followed by thunders last night. This implied that the location of the strike was just somewhere near. How do we determine how near or far the strike was? Allow me to share a few things I learned in Science class.

When you see a flash of lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear the sound of thunder. Then, divide the number of seconds by 5 to get the distance in miles or by 3 to get the distance in kilometers. Pretty easy, huh?

Remember that sound travels more slowly than light. Therefore, we may be able to see the strike as it happens, but we hear the sound only a few seconds after.

However, since we are located in Mindanao, where huge mountains surround us (and usually protect us from thunderstorms) and also considering other factors like altitude, relative humidity and pressure, this method may not be really accurate. Keep in mind that this is only an approximation, and that PAG-ASA knows best.

Thus, if you are in a middle of what you think is a thunderstorm, the best thing to do is to find shelter. Assuming that the strike happened somewhere far, based merely on the number of seconds between the strike and the sound, could be dangerous. Besides, storms travel very fast. Even if one strike is indeed far away, the next strike could be much nearer.

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4 comments

  1. kayo nakacapture ng kidlat nato?:-D

  2. hehe.. galing wikimedia commons yan. ssshhhh.. 😉

  3. aw.. wehehehe 😀

  4. nice sharing. at least, meron na akong magawa pag malakas ang ulan at may kidlat. para feeling din ng mga barkada ko, matalino ako sa science! Haha!

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