This summer, Marilyn and I spent a lot of time in the mid-western states of South Dakota and Nebraska where we witnessed and experienced many severe storms accompanied by howling winds, flashing lightning and booming thunder. As I write this blog there is a spectacular thunderstorm occurring right here in Colorado.
Thunderstorms can be very dangerous. Around the world, lightning strikes the ground about 100 times each second, or 8 million times a day. Lightning kills around a hundred people in the United States every year. Yet, I love a good thunderstorm – they are an awesome sight to behold – if I am in the safety of a house or a car.
Lightning is really nothing but a huge spark. It is believed that as a storm builds, negative charges begin to build at the base of the clouds. Excess negative charges begin to travel from the clouds towards the earth, where within a few hundred feet, positive charges from the ground rise up to meet them. As the two charges meet, an enormous electric current flows down through a zigzag path. The positive charge moves up toward the cloud, the air is superheated making a glow equal to that of a million 100-watt bulbs … lightning! The sudden intense heat (36,000 °F or 20,000°C) causes the air to explode … thunder! And it all happens in less than a second. The cloud will continue to produce lightning until the excess of negative charges is depleted.
Even though lightning can be very damaging, it can also be very beneficial. Lightning produces ozone, a gas that helps protect the Earth from the dangerous rays of the sun. It also knocks electrons from nitrogen atoms, which combine with hydrogen and oxygen to form nitrates … fertilizer for the plants. Also, because of the electrical charges in the clouds, the rain drops repel each other as they fall. Think about that … rain drops falling on your head is a lot better than a lake of water pounding you into the ground!
There is a purpose and design in lightning; “He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; …” Psalm 135:5-7
Billboard From God:
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