Beware of Lightning
MANHATTAN, Kan. – In her role as the director of the Kansas Weather Data Library, Mary Knapp answers many questions, including some related to lightning.
One question she was asked recently was, “Can a bolt of lightning come out of a clear sky?” Knapp said. “The answer is yes. The phrase ‘bolt from the blue’ is often used to indicate surprise, as ‘a bolt of lightning from a blue sky.’”
According to Phrase Finder, a reference for quotations, the earliest citation is Carlyle, 1837 – “Arrestment, sudden really as a bolt out of the blue, has hit strange victims,” she said.
“Sadly, that is still true. Lightning can travel more than 25 miles from the thunderstorm itself,” said Knapp, who also serves as a delegate to the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). “There have been numerous cases of victims being surprised by lightning from a clear sky. That is why it is important to take cover when thunderstorms are in the vicinity – even if the rain has yet to arrive. It is also recommended to wait about 30 minutes after the storm has passed to resume outdoor activities.”
Information about Kansas weather is available on the Weather Data Library website. “Weather Wonders” audio reports are available on the K-State Research and Extension News Media Web site. Information about EDEN is available.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Story by: Mary Lou Petermlpeter@ksu.eduK-State Research & Extension News
Mary Knapp is at 785-532-7019