dry lightning

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jul 8 22:43:41 UTC 2007

I agree that "heat lightning" typically seems to be silent.

Perhaps meteorologists are eschewing the term because it seems to imply some outmoded caloric theory of its nature.


sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM> wrote: ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society
Poster:       sagehen
Subject:      Re: dry lightning

>OED mentions _heat lightning_ (the kind unaccompanied by rain in your
>vicinity) but offers no supporting cites.
>  My grandparents used _heat lightning_.
>  My reading of Springsteen's "dry lightning" is that it refers -
>poetically or not - to heat lightning. Reichmuth's definition is different.
>  JL
My understanding of "heat lightning" is that it is either cloud-to-cloud
(no visible bolt) that occurs in the absence of rain, or it is lightning of
any type occurring over the horizon and only visible  as reflected light
from nearer, higher clouds.  The accompanying thunder would reach the
observer so much later -- perhaps 50 seconds or more -- if at all, that it
might not seem to be associated  with the lightning.

W stands for >:<  War ____Waste___Wiretaps____Witchhunts  >:<

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