Press Release

NASA Chat: Striking Up a Conversation About Lightning

By SpaceRef Editor
June 22, 2011
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Lightning’s connection to tropical storms and hurricane intensification has eluded researchers for years, but NASA scientists hope to answer some of these puzzling questions. (NASA)

Lightning strikes during a thunderstorm. (NASA/MSFC/Nancy Vreuls) June is Lightning Safety Awareness Month. Lightning is the number two killer of severe weather. Flooding is number one. A lot of people think if it is sunny or maybe just a few clouds around and you hear thunder, it is okay to stay outside until you actually see the lightning. That is not true. If you hear thunder when you are outside, that means that lightning is close enough to strike you!

On Thursday, June 23, from 7-8 p.m. EDT, Dr. Richard Blakeslee, atmospheric research scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will answer your questions about lightning safety, the global distribution and frequency of lightning occurrence as well as some of its physical characteristic, the relationship of lightning to severe storms and weather (e.g., lightning rate changes may serve as a “pre-cursor” or advanced indicator to later severe weather at the ground such as tornadoes), and other lightning research topics such as lightning-hurricane relationships and terrestrial gamma ray burst.

Joining the chat is easy. Simply visit this page on Thursday, June 23 a few minutes before the start of the chat. The chat window will be open at the bottom of this page. Simply log in and be ready to ask questions at 7 p.m. EDT.

See you in chat!

SpaceRef staff editor.