Popcorn Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are coloring the start of our summer. We can not remember a year when there have been more of them.

Usually storms move across New England lose their strength or dissipate completely by the time they cross over the open water of Southeastern Massachusetts. This summer is entirely more fun. We’ve had quite a few, perhaps a dozen in the last month. We had a good one this morning at 5 a.m.

They’ve been glorious performances too. Last week we were treated with a spectacular rainbow at the conclusion.  It came as a surprise. Rainbows are far more rare than thunderstorms here.

We like thunderstorms. They are Mother Nature’s own theatrical invention. They have a beginning, a middle and an end to them. You never know what is going to show up on stage, but you know there will be rain, a flash of brilliant lightning and loud thunder. You just don’t know when and to its intensity.

The meteorologists like to call this seasonal storm “popcorn thunderstorms.” It is easy to understand why.

Normally thunderstorms come through as a big frontal line, a squall. For those of us who love to watch the radar on the Internet, we can watch them approaching like any bad weather. But “popcorn thunderstorms” are a little more mischievous. You might know they are coming a half hour before they arrive, but you can’t know for sure any sooner than that.

These storms pop up in the midst of the region almost out of nowhere. We know the air is damp, we know it is muggy, and we know the clouds are somewhere, but we don’t know where exactly they will storm.

One town down the road on this Island will get a deluge. They’ll experience a real wash, while we are sitting looking up at partly cloudy skies. Amazing!

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