Using music to explain why Wednesday night's storms were exceptionally loud
The loud thunder on Wednesday evening may have taken some of you by surprise. After all, it is February. That's not something you typically expect. However, we can show that nighttime storms tend to be louder than daytime storms.
Daytime storms typically form, due to the heat of the day. In an unstable atmosphere, you tend to have cold air above the warm ground air. At night, the air cools a little bit at the ground.
The air above the surface, however, is warm enough to trigger storms from a higher level. This tends to lower the severe weather threat, but it's also what makes these nighttime storms louder. That warm layer of air above the surface traps the sound at the ground level, and allows the thunder's sound waves to bounce around a little bit more.
The best way that I can compare this is to hitting a drum inside. When you do that, the sound bounces off the walls and booms a little bit more. When you take those drums outside and hit them with the same level of intensity, it's still loud. However, the sound doesn't boom as much - because there's nothing to trap it. Be sure to watch the video above to get the full gist!