Heat Thunder

Sometimes it’s hard to hear things in Our Little House in the summer due to the buzz of our window air conditioning unit, but Dale and I both reacted to the thunderous crash on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, we heard the buzz of two military transport helicopters flying rather low almost right over our house.

This, however, sounded like an explosion and rocked our little dwelling.

“What in the world?” I jumped up from the couch. Dale was making taco sauce and the dogs began barking.

“That had to be thunder,” he said.

“Or an explosion,” I replied.

I looked out the window, but couldn’t see a cloud in the sky. I went outside into the blistering heat and stood on the deck, looking over the treetops as best I could to make sure I didn’t see smoke coming from the direction of neighbors.

Nothing but big white puffy clouds floating against a bright blue sky.

I went back inside and got back into my Lifetime movie, my Sunday afternoon guilty pleasure.

Another rumble shook the house and another round of barking from The Fearsome Four. This one was definitely more of a rumble than an explosion like sound.

“There it is again,” Dale said.

We finally concluded it was heat thunder. I don’t know if that’s what it is really called, but that’s how we’ve always referred to the mysterious rumblings from the sky.

I also don’t know the science behind it, but know it also happened in the city, it just didn’t shake the house to the foundation. It usually happens on hot afternoons when it is otherwise clear, but sometimes when a storm is approaching.

Later that evening, we went out on the deck to watch the storm blow in. There was no doubt about the origins of those rumblings!

Does anyone know why there is thunder so close when it is clear on a hot afternoon? What sounds shake your home?

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14 Responses

  1. V Schoenwald says:

    Kerri, I inquired around about this type of thunder, and was told that sometimes, the air is just right, humidity, hot air, and the air can expand and boom just like a boomer does, it is a phenomenon.
    That is about all I can find out at this time, I’ll keep nosing around.

  2. Sandy says:

    We’ve started having more frequent thunderstorms over the last 2 weeks. Every time I hear the distant thunder, with each rumble becoming slightly louder and the storm inching ever so closer….I can’t help but think of that scene in Jurassic Park where the T-rex is approaching the fence…and with each of his steps …rumble…water in puddle vibrates…. rumble..again water vibrates… rumble…I love that movie!

    Rained just a little while ago, which saved me from having to water everything…yeah!

  3. peg says:

    hi kerri, just found your site today.great way to spend the day “resting” after oral surgery. Enjoyed your article on your small house, brings back memories of an 825sq.ft.house our family of 6 lived in. My children are all grown now with children of their own but that is the place they most remember.

  4. Frugal Kiwi says:

    One thing I notice in moving from the South to New Zealand was that whilst we have the occasional bout of thunder, it is rare. We have plenty of massive rain downpours, but rarely thunderstorms here in the top of the North Island. I kind of miss them!

  5. Kim says:

    We were in a pool near Branson last weekend with big, puffy white clouds in the sky. One little cloud developed a dark underside… and within five minutes there was thunder and lightning, coming closer fast, and we scrambled for our things and nearly ran (with two toddlers, which isn’t all that fast of a run). We were soaked through and the kids were terrified by the time we got to my mom’s condo, just 6 or 8 doors down. Amazing how quickly a summer storm can appear!

    • It really is very amazing with summer storms, Kim. We were on the lake once and by the time we got our boat out, it was swamped and we had lived through an F1 tornado! I felt like George Clooney going down in “Perfect Storm!”

  6. V Schoenwald says:

    We get what we call “popcorn boomers” here in Nebraska. They start out like tiny little dots of clouds and you can time them, within 15 minutes, you can have a thunderstorm with tornadoes within a New York minute, and then you hold on for the ride or flee with your tail between your legs, I assure you.
    I have heard of this also, my grandparents told me about it in the dirty 30’s when the dust clouds would come up from OK north, and would preceed a storm with all the dust.
    I have seen lightning roll on fence lines, and also cattle’s backs and we do have “ball” lightning that is truly a freak of nature. Years ago, when I was working for a vet here in town, I was there on a Sun afternoon cleaning kennels, and the one vet came in, when he did, I smell the faint whiff of barbeque, and I jokingly ask how the barbeque was, and he got this smirky smile on his face and told me, “ya, it was great, had a big crowd, and plenty of leftovers”. seems he just came in from a post mortum from a ranch where about 50 head of cattle crammed into a corner of a fence line and there was a very bad thunderstorm Sat night, and they all got hit by lightning from the fence being hit and them being wet and also being crammed into the fence being the conductor. Its not funny but this is what we deal with in open country here and can be dangerous even in a car in open country as you can be hit also and it has happened.

    • Wow, V, lightning can be a very dangerous thing. I was standing at the kitchen window doing dishes once in the city during a storm and saw a bolt hit a tree and twist all the way down it. The same bolt hit our tv dish and killed it too.

  7. kerri says:

    I think it’s very interesting the different weather patterns in each part of the country.

  8. Alexandra says:

    We don’t have this phenomena, but when we do get thunderstorms, they tend to circle, since we are on a peninsula, and last for hours.