Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stormy Weather

One thing you can say about the Midwest is we have lots of weather, and it varies considerably. We have days that can range almost 100 degrees from morning to night and the thunderstorms, well you have to experience one to believe it.

We are in that stormy weather phase as I write this blog. The rain that we expect and appreciate, can come on like gangbusters as the days begin to heat up. Storms this spring brought some "Severe Thunderstorms" to the park. Rain, hail and especially lightning can put a damper on campers.

Lightening left its mark on a tree by site 84. The vertical scar caused by less than an inch of electrical charge superheats the sap in the tree and the steam explodes causing the bark and wood to blow off.

Did you know oak and elm trees are the most frequently targeted trees. Well actually they are not truly targeted as the lightening starts from the earthbound object and connects to the cloud more often then the other way around. That's why if you feel that tingling feeling on your scalp or your hair is standing on end you are charging up for a potential strike.

Campers and park users are notified when severe weather is threatening and signs are posted in common areas and at the bath houses. If you should need to seek shelter the bath houses will provide the safest surroundings. Although not a true storm shelter it would be one of your best options. Fortunately no one was injured as a result of the storm damage.

When thunderstorms approach keep in mind lightening can strike up to 10 miles away. So if you can hear thunder you may be in striking range. You can use the old fashion gauge of counting the seconds from visual flashes of lightening to the sound of thunder and divide by 5 for the number of miles away. Keep in mind strikes can still happen up to 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. 

Park neighbors tree struck too!

I'd like to dedicate this article to my sister, she'll get a charge out of this article as she once had the hair raising experience of being the target. Plus todays her Birthday. Double target.


  1. Now I'm going to be humming "stormy weather" all day long.

  2. Gee thanks for the science lesson. I never knew all that bark came off and now I do.