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  • Sara Thompson

April Showers and Storms

By Chris Vera Zelada.

Image credit is Julie West, National Park Service - Wikimedia Commons.

Special to the Enterprise


Did you know that in April several jet streams form in the Northern Hemisphere causing a lot of rain? This is called the April showers. Jet streams in the early spring start to rotate northwards which picks up strong winds and rain from the Atlantic Ocean. One thing about April is that it can be all sunshine and rainbows one day and then suddenly heavy downpour of rain occurs the next day. Some of these heavy rain showers can also cause lightning storms.


Lightning storms form because of mixed precipitation in the atmosphere. When the atmosphere is unstable warm air may rise which form those dark clouds we see, rain, and eventually even lightning. Lightning is very interesting because there are three different types of lightning. There can be cloud to cloud lightning which is the most common type of lightning we see because this is the lightning that occurs within clouds. The second most common type of lighting is cloud to air lighting. This type of lighting is when we see the lightning strike themselves out in the open. The third type of lightning is the most dangerous because this is cloud to ground lighting. This is when charged particles from the cloud near the ground and the surge of electricity runs upwards. This is the part that is seen with the eye.


The reason why we see these streaks of electricity is because within the cloud there are both positive and negative charges within the clouds, however these charges might become too unstable and cause a discharge to either another cloud, the air or the ground. Air can act as an insulator to prevent these strikes from happening but when the balance of both positive and negative charges become too great the insulation capacity of the air breaks down and lighting shoots through.

 

Explorit's coming events:

 

•       Explorit is open Fridays from 1-4pm and Saturday and Sundays from 10am-2pm. The current exhibit is “Our WILD World”. Admission is $5 per person, free for Explorit Members and those aged 2 and under.

•       Summer Science Camps are back for 2024! Registration is $185 for Members, $210 for Non-Members. More information and registration can be found at https://www.explorit.org/camps.

•       April 13-14, Nature Detectives. In recognition of National Park Week, visitors will get to explore skulls, pelts, and track casts from 40 species from North America, courtesy of Kaotic Mythicals. Children will get to make their own Field Track Guide of 20 species. Special craft of a real track cast to take home plus a demonstration of track casting. Included with general $5 Admission to Explorit, 10am-2pm each day.

•       Save the Date! Saturday, May 4th. Science Expo at Explorit! More information can be found at https://www.explorit.org/science-expo-2024.

•       A Membership to Explorit grants the recipient free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, summer camps, and gives you ASTC benefits to visit other museums throughout the world.  To purchase or for more information visit https://www.explorit.org/membership.

•       Now is a great time to donate and help Explorit continue to educate and inspire the scientists of tomorrow: https://www.explorit.org/donate

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