19 April 2008

Fireflies in Love

I was falling asleep last night and I noticed fireflies were flickering outside my window. It was kind of comforting. They were quite plentiful in the warmer seasons of North Carolina and I haven’t really noticed any fireflies since moving to Florida.

My job had me in my car early this morning.  The early morning sky was still quite dark. Dawn was hours away. On the way to the Silver Bullet (my car) I noticed the fireflies were still flashing. I was amused at they're amorous nature. Funny bugs, seeking mates all through the night.  And then I noticed that it wasn’t fireflies.

It was the sky. The sky was filled with soundless lightening.  Spectacular.

Never before had the sky done something to make my jaw drop.

I had trouble focusing on the drive into work.  The display was more remarkable than fireworks. And soundless; awesome. I was more than a little late for work.

How could I have missed out on observing this phenomenon, previously? Admittedly I'd never lived anywhere previously where I woke so early in the morning. It often rains daily in Florida, which doubtlessly increases the chances of witnessing such a sight.

As it turns out, when lightning is more that 10 miles away the sound waves will dissipate and not reach the observer.  Also if weather conditions permit, the sound of thunder can be funneled upward instead of earthward.

What I saw was an intercloud or intracloud lightning. 'When lightning occurs inside a distant cloud at night, the whole towering storm is illuminated in an eerie and spectacular way.' (Gibilisco).

Internet Resources

Wikipedia     
NOAA    
FEMA 
Weather Bug 
Weather Underground 
Stormy Weather Blog
Bhakti Roberto's Descriptive Essay

Haven't been able to find a good clip/picture of this phenomenon.  When I do I'll post it here.

Library Resources

Buckley, B., Hopkings, E. J., & Whitaker, R., 2004, Weather: A Visual Guide, Firefly Books Ltd., Buffalo, New York.

Cox, J. D., 2000, Weather for Dummies, IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., New York, NY, 212 p.

Gibilisco, S., 2006, Meteorology Demystified, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., New York, NY, 123 p.

Smith, J., 2001, The Facts on File Dictionary of Weather and Climate, Market House Books Ltd., New York, NY, 107 p.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

I LOVE fireflies (and lightening, too)! :-) YAY for SUMMER!