Fun Facts

Heat lightning is not actually what it seems… Thunderstorms can have lightning strikes up to 30 miles away. On hot days the warm air will rise with the moisture around it and will slowly condense into a cloud. Mostly cumulus. Then a thunderstorm may form if the cumulus reaches mature stage. When a thunderstorm forms, possibly in North Adams, the effects could be felt in Pittsfield. So heat lightning is really just lightning from a far away thunderstorm.

Thundershowers do not exist… When even a small bolt of thunder comes to be it automatically classifies these showers to become a thunderstorm. Thunder showers are supposedly thunderstorms with weak rain. However because there is thunder it makes it a thunderstorm. The rain intensity does not matter. If it is raining heavily, some may classify it as a heavy or drenching thunderstorm.

Severe thunderstorms are not classified by rain but rather wind, hail or tornadic activity. If a thunderstorm produces wind over 58 miles per hour it is considered severe. If hail is 1 inch or greater. Or if there is tornadic activity associated with the thunderstorm. A thunderstorm’s rain and lightning does not classify as severe. In a strong thunderstorm wind and hail may be slightly under the needed amount to be severe but could still do damage. Any tornadic activity is severe and dangerous.

A funnel cloud is a tornado that has not yet touched the ground. A tornado is a rotating column of air that is on the ground. A waterspout is a tornado over water. A gustnado is a weak tornado considered to be less than EF0 status. A dust devil is a weak rotating column of air on clear or partly cloudy days that holds dust and is weaker than a gustnado. It usually lasts about 15 minutes. It is not as dangerous as a normal tornado but if you see one seek shelter immediately.

Nor’easters… Nor’easters are not named because they always impact the Northeast. It is actually that their wind comes from the northeast of it‘s low pressure center. So it is just a coincidence that they impact the Northeast.

Blizzards… Did you know that since 2007 only two Blizzard Warnings have been issued for Berkshire County? One on Febuary 7, 2007 and another on March 13, 2017. Just to remind you a Blizzard Warning is blowing or falling snow with winds of 35 mph causing visibilities to drop to a quarter mile or less for at minimum 3 hours.

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