What happens to rain when lightning strikes it?

Answered by Travis Wyatt, Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Pocatello, ID Any rain in the path of lightning will turn to steam. Lightning can heat the air anywhere from 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit to up to 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The surface of the sun is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. So, lightning is extremely hot. Lightning traveling down a…

Are there any ecological impacts from the dam and power plant system in Idaho Falls, especially relating to fish movement across the concrete barrier at the Broadway Bridge?

Great question about dams!   While dams change the ecological makeup of any river that they are placed in, their biggest impact for fish comes in relation to movement.  Unless a dam is specifically built to allow fish to move both downstream and upstream, it becomes a barrier.  To some fish this is more critical than…

What makes a foggy day?

Answered by Nicole Peterson, Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Pocatello Office Fog is simply a cloud, but on the ground. In order for fog to form, there needs to be moisture in the air. Fog typically forms overnight when the air near the ground cools, and disappears in the morning when the sun warms up the air.…

I noticed this week (October 8th), that though the water of the South Fork in the Ririe area is clear, there are huge clumps of algae in the water and covering the rocks. I’ve never noticed this much algae before. Is there a reason?

Question answered by Gregg Losinski, Environmental Science Educator This is a great question based on an interesting observation. Like many great questions, the answer may not be a simple one. Without knowing what exactly was being observed it is hard to give a definitive answer, but the potential answers are all possible. The most important…

We have heard so much about the solar eclipse that will occur in Idaho next August. The news article we read talked about the path of totality. What does that mean?

Question Answered by Dr. Brian Tonks, Astronomy Professor, BYU-Idaho On 21 August, 2016, Southeastern Idaho and many other places in the United States are in for a rare treat. We will experience a total Solar eclipse. This means that the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun and cast its shadow on the…

Why does lightning sometimes hit the ground and other times go from cloud to cloud?

Answered by Travis Wyatt, National Weather Service, Pocatello Office All lightning comes from thunderstorms. When a thunderstorm develops, electrical charges (either positive or negative) within the cloud separate. This creates two different electric fields between the top of the cloud and the base of the cloud. When these electric fields build up enough, there is…