Second grade Liam has to write a letter each Friday with his home lessons during this pandemic. Since Liam enjoys the weather and Chief Meterologist Joe Murgo, he wanted to write Joe about his fear of thunderstorms wanting to know more. Here is a copy of the letter.
Here is Joe’s response to Liam.
Thanks so much writing your Friday letter to me! I can help you with the fear of thunderstorms and help you not be afraid anymore. But first, I will tell you that a fear of thunderstorms and severe weather sometimes gets people interested enough in the weather to become a meteorologist? That’s what happened to Christy Shields. Now she not only is she not afraid anymore, but she teaches about the weather just like I do.
Let me first ask, is it the thunder that scares you? Often it is. There is no reason really to fear thunder as it is just a sound and sound can’t hurt you. It’s a sound like a balloon popping. While it may make you jump, you know there is no danger from the popping balloon. In fact, I think the sound of thunder is a good thing as it is just like an alarm clock. An alarm clock is a sound that warns you to get up so you don’t miss anything. Thunder is an alarm clock that warns you that lightning is nearby. It is this lightning that is dangerous and you should be careful when it is around, but you can be safe if you can remember one simple thing – “Lightning is lazy”. Lightning and electricity is lazy and doesn’t like to move through some things and likes to go through other things. That’s why we have metal wires to move the electricity in a house, but rubber around the wires is hard to move through so the lazy electricity avoids going through it. You know what is like rubber? Air. If you think about it, there is electricity sockets all of your house, but electricity at the strength in your house will not go through the air, it’s too lazy. Since lightning doesn’t like to go through air, it strengthens until the point it has to and that’s how we get a lightning strike.
But remember lightning is lazy. It doesn’t like to go through air, so it likes to find tall objects. Therefore, if you hear the alarm clock of thunder, you are completely safe in a house as the lazy lightning won’t seek you out on the inside, but rather will move through the wires, pipes and metals to the ground. If you are outside away from the house, get in a car. Many people think lightning won’t strike cars because of rubber tires, but this is not true. What is true? The lazy lightning will go on the shell outside of the car and then down to the ground.
What causes thunder? It’s the same as the popping balloon I mentioned before. When you pop a balloon, the air rushes out creating the sound. When lightning strikes, it is very hot and causes air to expand out like a popping balloon. But it is a long balloon which can create rumbling sounds.
So next time you hear your thunder alarm clock, go inside and explain to others how you don’t need to be afraid as the lightning is too lazy to come inside and get you.
If there is anything you need that you would like help with in becoming a meteorologist, I am here for you.