After scattered thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and evening, the pattern dries out a bit Friday and Saturday, resulting in mostly sunny skies (although a few afternoon clouds are possible, especially in the mountains.) Temperatures will remain quite warm…in the mid-90s through the weekend. By Sunday we will begin to see a little more cloudiness in the afternoons, with a slight chance that a few of those clouds could produce an isolated thunderstorm or two.

Lightning lots

Yesterday, I mentioned that there is a separation of charges in a thunderstorm. Sam Asked:  “OK fine, but how does the upward movement of air create a separation of charges? I suppose it’s the same as shuffling across the floor and getting a shock, but the question remains: Why?” Actually, it’s different than shuffling. The collision of hail going down and the rain going up is the crux of the cause. Electrons are ripped off the rising particles, which causes a net positive charge on the tops of the clouds, and a net negative on the bottoms. We are still learning about the exact processes involved, but it is much more involved than just a straight static electricity buildup.

Lightning diag 1