Saturday, October 06, 2007

Watchin The Sparks Fly

I love high-rise living. Aside from having the best view in the city, and never having to worry about someone scaling the wall and breaking and entering, I see Mother Nature live.

I can see the storms as they sweep across the city, or even better – I enjoy watching the lightening as it crashes through the universe.

Today I got to see a neat light show. A lightening storm was whipping across the city and I had front row seats. It is pretty cool to watch enough electricity to power a good chunk of the city streak across the sky.

The shear fear factor is pretty cool too – sometimes it catches you off guard and you jump as the lightening bolt whizzes past.

Lightening is caused by the collision of high pressure and low pressure systems in our atmosphere. The lightening is Mother Nature’s way of releasing the high pressure and raising the low pressure, until both pressure systems are balanced. The lightening itself is actually a by-product of this equalization of pressures.

As the two pressure systems (fronts) are mixing and balancing, static energy is given off. This static energy builds up inside those funky vapor bodies known as clouds. When there is too much static energy, eventually it spurts out in the form of a lightening bolt.

This pressure change can cause more than sparks to fly – people react too. As the pressure systems collide, people that suffer migraines and other serious headaches often feel a headache coming on. Pressure changes in the atmosphere can cause people sensitive to pressure to get a headache.

As the pressure is released through the ensuing lightening storm, those affected by pressure changes will feel better too – as their headache weakens and goes away.

I’m lucky, I don’t suffer headaches due to pressure changes. This way, I can do the nutty things that I do during an electrical storm – like going out on my high-rise balcony and watching the lightening strike.

I know it is relatively safe, as there are lightening rods on the roof of my building. There is the slight chance that I’d get fried by a bolt of lightening, if for some reason the lightening was attracted more to me than the lightening rods on the roof.

But seeing as I don’t have much metal on or in me, that is a very slim chance.

And nothing beats the thrill of a good lightening storm.

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