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Lightning: The 5 second rule

(KWQC)
Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 7:08 PM CDT
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Next week is lightning awareness week. To take a look at something many of us learned as a kid let's explore what is known as the "5 Second Rule". First of all, we need to know the speed of sound. At an air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit that speed is about 762 miles per hour. At warmer temps air is thinner and the speed of sound increases. When it comes right down to it we can be a bit off in our estimation cause the difference in distance the thunder travels is not that great at deferring air temperatures. Now, here's how the "rule" works. When you see a flash of lightning start counting. Stop counting when you hear the thunder. For every 5 seconds between the lightning flash and the sound of thunder the thunderstorm that produced the lightning is 1 mile away. If the time is decreasing the storm is moving toward you. If it is increasing the storm is moving farther away. We'll have some thunderstorms around the QCA Friday and Saturday. If you've never tried this before this might be your chance!

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