Weather Blog

Tall thunderstorms cast dramatic shadows on region's fog layer

Tall thunderstorms cast dramatic shadows on region's fog layer

A bit of a strange Sunday morning around the southern half of Western Washington as a low-level marine layer socked in the region with fog overnight, and then an approaching low pressure center triggered several thunderstorms that were moving through above the fog.

It made for quite a picture from space, as the towering thunderstorms cast long shadows down on the foggy marine layer below. Doppler radar indicated the thunderstorms were between 20,000 and 25,000 feet tall while the top of the fog layer was at about 2,100 feet.

The National Weather Service office in Seattle said it counted 800 lightning strikes between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. around Western Washington.

Does the thunder seem louder?

Thunder during foggy -- or snowy -- events may sound a bit louder than it would under more typical circumstances because the wet air is a better conductor of sound.

Fog forms when the air is saturated with water vapor, and water droplets are better at conducting sound than plain old air due to their density. So rumbles of thunder from above will be carried with better efficiency across the nearby area.

(This affect is also noticeable during "thundersnow" events as snowflakes are larger and its density can mimic fog.)

The fog is expected to give way later in the day but if it manages to hang on through the football game this evening, it could help the screams and cheers from the 12th man to maintain their intensity better on the field.