SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Did somebody ever tell you something about the weather that you still believe today, even though it may be wrong?
Let’s discuss a few common weather myths! Our first myth deals with heat lightning.
- Heat lightning appears because it is so hot. This is false. There is no such thing as heat lightning. Every thunderstorm contains lighting and thunder. Light travels faster and farther than sound.
- Lightning can be seen up to 100 miles away but can only be heard up to 15 miles. So heat lightning is nothing more than a thunderstorm that is to far away to hear the thunder but you can still see the lightning.
- Our area is protected from hurricanes because of the shape of our coast. This is also false. Tropical systems are steered by the prevailing upper-level winds. During the summertime, we usually see a large area of high pressure in the Atlantic Ocean called the Bermuda High. Winds flow clockwise around the high. This means that storms will generally move east to west at lower latitudes but as they move northward they begin to turn more to the east. (6)Eastward movement is determined by an upper-level trough moving across the US. History tells us our area has been hit by many hurricanes and it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.
- Summer is warmer because we are closer to the sun. It’s actually the opposite, at least for the northern hemisphere. The Earth has an elliptical orbit around the sun putting us closer to the sun during the northern hemisphere winter and furthest during the northern hemisphere summer. The Earth is also tilted on its axis 23.4º. This means that even though we are further away during summer, we are tilted towards the sun. This provides longer days and allows the sun’s rays to hit us more directly which results in warmer temps.
- The greatest threat from a hurricane is strong winds. Everyone living along the coast should know the greatest risk comes from storm surge. Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water above the normal high tide. It is the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the US. Remember the saying: run from the water and hide from the wind.