Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Everybody talks about the weather...

(Shocking Image at Wikipedia)

From the depths of my heart and basement, I love powerful lightning storms and once wrote a poem, Ozark Spring Storm, to mythologize the experience of one.

I mention this now because from my 23rd-floor window about four o'clock this morning, I saw a powerful bolt come crashing down somewhere to the south of our place but still in Seoul, for its thunder shook our apartment about four seconds later. Subsequent bolts, which came infrequently, didn't strike with as much impact. Hurricane Ewiniar hasn't hit Seoul very hard and isn't leaving much meteorological disturbance in its wake, nothing like enough to wake the dead.

Unlike those Ozark storms.

Outside of Texas, where I've also lived, I've never seen electrical storms bursting with the dramatic intensity of those that I experienced growing up in the Ozarks. I recall storms there with almost constant bursts of lightning electrifying the night and regularly blasting along at that intensity for half an hour or more. As a kid, I loved the excitement. Now, realizing the grave danger, I'd probably be utterly terrified ... but I still think of those storms with nostalgia.

However, according to this science website, even the worst terrestrial storms don't hold a candlewatt to the serious lightning storms on Saturn:
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spotted an electrical storm as large as the continental United States on Saturn, with lightning bolts that are 1,000 times stronger than those on Earth. They detected the charged storm in Saturn's southern hemisphere, an area labeled "storm alley." The storm stretches 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) from north to south, and emits radio noise similar to that produced by thunderstorms on Earth.
A storm as big as the continental United States! Lightning bolts 1000 times stronger than our terrestrial ones! How freakin'-of-nature big would a Saturnine tornado be? Hurricane-sized?

And the weather doesn't get much better on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, which has methane rain at minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit! But don't think about moving to Neptune, hoping for better weather, for the storm winds there blow at more than 1500 miles per hour! Nor is Jupiter much better, with its Great Red Spot, a hurricane more than twice as wide as the Earth and powered by winds of as much as 350 miles per hour!

And that's just in the vicinity of Old Sol. Doubtless, the universe outside our solar system has even worse weather in store, so take along an umbrella ... just in case.



At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I continue to LOVE lightening storms. I am not afraid of being hit by a bolt; if I survive, well, Martin Luther seemed ok after his bolt. If I die--well, what a way to go. Sublime.

Back home, I rarely saw bolts of lightening, but I remember once that I did see one such bolt, and it came very close to where I was standing. I was thrilled!

If I were an ancient Canaanite, I'd be a Baal worshiper, for sure.

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er, "lightning." Oops!

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You could have been Hannibal Barca, i.e., "Mercy of Baal, Lightning."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once named a fish using that same root (which for your readers who don't know Semitic languages, begins with, not an "h," but a letter that sounds like the "ch" in Bach"): "Hananyahu": "Yahweh has been gracious." It was a very small fish, and there were three others.


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