Shocking Truths

Do you find yourself getting shocked more often in the past weeks? This is not a coincidence, you are in fact much more likely to get shocked in the winter months than the summer.

Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and it is through electrons that we receive a nasty shock. As you brush up against objects, such as rubbing your feet while wearing socks on a carpet, or take off a wool coat while wearing a sweater, you will gather extra electrons on your person. This creates an imbalance, and when you touch a conductor, such as a metal object, that imbalance will right itself through the shock you feel (and sometimes even see!).

In the winter, especially in the north, arctic air-masses move southward into the US. These air masses tend to be bone dry. On the other hand, in the spring and summer, the jet stream swings northward and moisture laden air masses push northward out of the tropics. This moisture in the air will help to grab some of the extra electrons, and hence lower the chances of being shocked.

More Weather Glossary

  • Hoar Frost

    After a cold, clear winter night without much wind, the ground and nearby tree branches may be covered by tiny, white ice crystals.

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

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This Day In Weather History

Colorado Springs, CO (1978)
Hail 6 inches deep.

Rochester, MN (1979)
2.73 inches of rain fell in 50 minutes making this the wettest August on record. (9.52 inches of rain so far this month). The heavy downpour flooded the streets of Rochester, stranding about 1,500 cars.

Midwest (1979)
A five-state tornado outbreak in Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Iowa and Missouri occurred on this date. In all, 20 tornadoes were reported. Nine were in Iowa. One near Farragut, IA, in the extreme SW corner of the state, caused several fatalities and numerous injuries.

Rough Weather