ctwxman writes "For most of the United States (sorry West Coast), this is the season for lightning. It is as powerful as it is spectacular to look at. It is destructive too - by itelf or through the hail, straight line winds and tornadoes that often accompany it. As someone who forecasts the weather, I'm often asked about lightning. As you might imagine, there's plenty to see about lightning on the Internet. The conditions necessary and a little bit of the physics behind lightning are explained by Jeff Haby, a meteorologist (one of my professors actually) at Mississippi State University. Once forecasters get a handle on what's going on, they put the word out through the Storm Prediction Center. Regular outlooks are issued by SPC for severe storms. Once those storms rear their ugly heads, they're followed with mesoscale discussions looking at the active areas. The Storm Prediction Center is also the place where Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches are issued and storm related damage reports are compiled. Lots of hobbyists like to track lightning strikes on their own, and there's equipment available to do just that. Getting hit by lightning is never fun, though not always fatal. National Geographic chronicled an amazing story of a lightning strike, and rescue, on Grand Teton."
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