Friday, August 15, 2008

Overnight Thunderstorms

Well good morning from socked in Denver -- it's a balmy 50 degrees with heavy mist/fog.

Once I moved to Colorado I really began to miss the overnight thunderstorms I was used to in the east. We just don't see that too often here -- in fact -- I can count on my left hand how many times I have seen it here over the past 8 years.

Well last night was an exception, in fact, it was one of the best shows I have seen yet.

I woke up about 3:51 am thinking is that thunder? Then I saw the lightning once I focused my eyes and said yes it was. It grew more intense and a bolt hit somewhere very close to me shortly there after.

The thunder rattled my windows!!!

Me and my basset hound (Samson) just snuggled down in the center of the bed looking out the window.

I have been on vacation this week and landscaping my backyard -- I went to check my gauge at 7 am and thankfully the work I have done so far survived it's first thunderstorm!

Elsewhere, the CoCoRaHS national map is a busy one today with pockets of moderate to heavy rain recorded over the past 24 hours across eastern Colorado, SW Kansas, central Oklahoma, north-central Texas, much of Missouri and Indiana as well as central Florida.

It's hot in the CoCoRaHS state of Oregon with triple digit heat again in downtown Portland. They had a record high on Thursday of 101° -- it was 102° at the Portland airport.

Medford was 108°! It was even 100° in Eugene.

The tropics are heating up with that area of disturbed weather still around Puerto Rico -- it could become the next tropical system over the weekend.

We are nearing the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season so according to climatology things should get active over the next few weeks.

Today's Lesson

We'll talk more about energy today.

Any moving substance has energy of motion, or kinetic energy.

Mathematically, this is KE = 1/2*mv² -- in text that would be kinetic energy equals one half times mass times velocity squared.

So the faster something moves, the more kinetic energy it will have -- so a strong wind has more kinetic energy than a light breeze.

Since the amount of kinetic energy also involves the objects mass, a volume of air and a volume of water moving at the same speed will have different amounts of kinetic energy.

Which one will be highest?

The water -- because it has a greater mass.

So how does this relate to weather?

The atoms and molecules that comprise all matter have kinetic energy due to motion. This form of kinetic energy is often called heat energy.

One of the most important forms of heat energy related to weather and climate is the energy we receive from the sun -- radiant energy.

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