From the most extreme weather ever recorded on Earth to a strange phenomenon known as St. Elmo’s Fire we take a look at 20 shocking weather facts you probably don’t know.
20. You can tell the temperature by listening to a cricket chirp. Dolbear’s law, published by Amos Dolbear in 1897, uses the following formula to calculate the air temperature in fahrenheit (TF) using the number of chirps a cricket makes per minute (N).
19. Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon. The name of the event depends on where it occurs. Cyclones only occur in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, hurricanes in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific and typhoons in the Northwest Pacific.
18. The longest recorded hurricane lasted for 31 days. Because it moved from the Northeast Pacific into the Northwest Pacific and back again, its status changed from a hurricane to a typhoon and back to a hurricane.
17. The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth occurred on the 13th September, 1922, in Al’Aziziyah, Libya. It reached a sweltering 58°C (136.4 F).
16. The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth occurred on the 21st July, 1983, at the Vostok Station, Antarctica. It fell to an icy -89.6°C (-129.28 F).
15. A lightning bolt can travel at speeds up to 218 871 km/h (136 000 mph) and reach temperatures of 30 000 Celsius (54 032 F). That is hotter than the sun!
14. You are far more likely to be struck by lightning twice than you are of winning Powerball. According to CBS, you have a 1 in 12 000 chance of being struck by lightning once. A 1 in 9 million chance of being struck twice and about a 1 in 292 million chance of winning Powerball.
13. The phenomenon known as St. Elmo’s fire occurs when there is a discharge from a sharp or pointed object in a strong electric field often during a thunderstorm. The electric field causes ionization of the air molecules which produces a blue flame like light. It can be seen on tall pointed objects like a church steeple or the mast of a ship but has even been witnessed on blades of grass and the tips of cattle horns. The phenomenon is usually only visible in low light.
12. An electric field like the one produced during a thunderstorm may cause some objects to emit a buzzing sound and a person’s hair to stand on end. These can be signs that a lightning strike is imminent. Michael and Sean McQuilken, the two brothers pictured here in this photo witnessed the phenomena first hand just moments before a lightning strike struck Sean and killed another mountain climber on Moro Rock in California’s Sequoia National Park in 1975.
11. The wettest place on Earth is Mawsynram, India. It receives an amazing 11 metres (36.09 feet) of rainfall every year.
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