Thunder Megaphone – A Glacial Valley Can Focus and Amplify Thunder Into a Most Extraordinary Sound

We’ve all heard thunder, and we all know what causes it. Many of us have heard two distinct kinds of thunder, but perhaps we never really noticed or thought about it. Recently, I heard a third kind of thunder.

“Ordinary” thunder – a thoroughly extraordinary sound, but the kind of thunder we hear most often – happens when lightning occurs at some distance from the observer. The initial sound of the lightning bolt echoes off surrounding objects and air masses. Because it is echoed so many times, the thunder stretches out into many, many seconds, even though the initial sound might have lasted a second or two at most. Moreover, because the initial sound echoes off soft things with indistinct surfaces – clouds, thermoclines, and weather fronts – and because many echoes reach the ears of the observer at different times, the original sound is greatly distorted. Almost all high frequency components are filtered out, and the observer hears mostly a low-pitched rumble.

When lightning strikes very close to the observer, within a few hundred feet, the sound is entirely different. The observer might not hear echoes of the thunder at all, but only the pure initial sound. It is a single, sharp, intense “POW!” It may be followed by a much quieter, but still loud, whistling or hissing sound.

But what about that third kind of lightning?

I was camping alone in Crawford Notch State Park in northern New Hampshire, when thunderstorms began rolling into the valley just after dinner. I tidied up my campsite just before the rain started, then retreated to my tent. One thunderstorm passed without much incident.

Darkness had fallen by the time the second thunderstorm rolled up from the south. I occupied myself by counting the time interval between lightning and thunder to track the movements of the storms. Fifteen seconds before the thunder rolled up from somewhere west of Mount Bemis, and I knew the storm was just under three miles southwest of me. Seven seconds between the flash and the rumble beyond Frankenstein Cliff, and I knew the storm was passing nearly a mile and a half to my west.

And then it happened!

A flash. I counted eleven seconds. And I heard a sound unlike any thunder I had ever heard before.

The cacophony included at least half a dozen rapid repetitions of the “POW!” of a nearby lightning strike. But at the same time, there was the rumbling and roaring of “ordinary” thunder, but much, much louder than usual.

Before I could figure out what that sound was, there was another flash somewhere to the north. Again I counted eleven seconds, and again I heard that utterly incredible crackling and powing and rumbling and roaring.

This time, I figured it out.

It was a lightning strike right within the upper reaches of Crawford Notch just a couple of miles north of me. It was right within a gigantic stone megaphone formed by Webster Cliff on the east, Mount Field and Mount Willey on the west, and the old glacial cirque of Mount Willard for a backstop on the north.

And this 1,500 foot deep, three-mile-long granite megaphone was pointed right at Dry River Campground.

Yes, the beautiful U-shaped glacial valley of Crawford Notch is a nearly perfect megaphone, albeit open on top. The bare stone faces of Mount Willard and Webster Cliff echoed the initial “POW!” of the thunder almost undistorted. The western slope of the notch is a bit more heavily wooded, but there’s enough bare ledge and rockslide there to provide a pretty good echo. The open top of the notch was covered by the underbelly of the thunderstorm itself, which provided enough of a soft echoic surface to create the usual rumbling of thunder in addition to the clean “POW!” echoes off the rock faces.

But all of this sound was extraordinarily loud because of the megaphone that focused it all right on me and my campsite.

After I got this all figured out, there was a third lightning flash in the north. Yes, eleven second later, there was that glorious, unearthly sound again.

I wondered why I had never heard this kind of thunder before. I have probably experienced thunderstorms in Crawford Notch at least a dozen times over the years, but never heard the Thunder Megaphone.

My best guess is that I probably have heard it before, but never noticed it. Most of the times I’ve camped there, it was with a crowd of friends and family. Much goes on when a thunderstorm rolls in. Ponchos have to be broken out and put on, while at the same time, various disorderly what-nots need to get stashed into cars and tents before they get soaked. There is a bit of yelling and shouting to be done, and paradoxically among the mayhem, kids and dogs need to have their fears calmed. Meanwhile, tarps over the tents and picnic tables are flapping in the gales, making a poor imitation of thunder themselves.

In all my 25 years camping in Crawford Notch, this may have been the first time I experienced a thunderstorm while I was camping there alone. There was no tarp over the tent, and I had anticipated the thunderstorm well enough to get everything into the car long before the rain started.

So, when the lightning and thunder came, I had nothing to do but observe.

What a treat!

I half hope we get a thunderstorm the next time we go camping in the mouth of the Thunder Megaphone.

How to Get Affordable Car Insurance in Ohio

People who live in the state of Ohio may be in for a surprise when they open their mailbox. In this state the Bureau of Motor Vehicles sends out 280,000 requests a year to see proof of insurance. Once someone receives one of these notices in the mail they only have three weeks to prove they have insurance. Although it’s obviously mandatory to have car insurance, some people forego it because of the price. There are ways to find affordable car insurance and some are not things most people are aware of including:

o Using one insurance company for all your policies including car, home, health and life. Insurance companies give discounts to individuals who purchase more than one type of insurance from them. Ask your health insurance or life insurance agent about a quote for car insurance.

o Buying a car that costs less to insure. Most people never consider the insurance costs that are associated with a particular type of car before they buy it. Call several insurance agents and ask for quotes on a car you are considering buying. You may be surprised to learn exactly how expensive it is, and if you find this out before you finalize the sale, you can save yourself a lot of money.

o Mention that you have a car alarm or consider getting one. A car alarm is a great idea for many reasons including the reduction you are likely to experience in insurance costs. Any effort that you make to keep your car safer is viewed in a good light by the insurance company. You’ll have to be prepared to show proof that the car alarm system is indeed installed.

The most important factor in determining your car insurance rates is likely your driving record. If you have been in more than one accident in the last few years or you have a pile of speeding tickets with your name on them, you are obviously going to have a more difficult time getting an affordable rate. If this is the case, make a resolution to start driving safely now and you’ll see your rates steadily drop.

7 Questions to Ask Before Booking A DJ For Your Wedding

Scouting for an amazing disc jockey (DJ) for your wedding is not a stroll in the park since there are many things to put into consideration. However, before booking that DJ, he must be able to provide appropriate answers to the following questions in order to prove his competence.

1. Are you a full-time DJ?

It is important for you to know that the DJ you want to hire is not just a one-dimensional part timer who may not owe enough time to the job. He must be involved on a full-time basis with quality experience that cuts across various events. He must be a true performer that can handle tough audiences without stress and satisfy them.

2. How do you treat song requests?

You should engage a DJ that understands how to strike a balance between couple's song requests and those of the guests so that both parties are adequately satisfied.

3. How do you customize the music experience for each couple?

He should be able to provide a soundtrack for your wedding which is dependent on your taste, style and vision for the day. He should be able to willingly accept your must-play and do-not-play lists because you are supposed to be in control of the music that will be played on that day.

4. Can I hear some samples of mixing and blending of different tracks?

He should be able to blend between songs harmoniously to the point that you may not even be aware of it. There should not be artless silence between songs as this will make your party to be boring.

5. What sound equipment do you work with? Do you have back-up?

The equipment that a DJ makes use of is as important as musical instruments. His turntable, microphone, mixer, computer, etc., must be up-to-date in order to reel out the best mix for your party. It is also important to have back-up equipment to guard against unforeseen circumstances.

6. How do you get the crowd pumped?

DJs have a lot of baits to encourage guests to take on the dance floor. You can request for a video of past performances in order to gauge the skills of the DJ you want to hire in entertaining guests.

7. Why should I choose you as my wedding DJ?

Providing a satisfactory answer to this question will go a long way to prove that you are about to hire a competent DJ. He should be able to tell you what makes him unique in the industry and this will assist you in making a vital decision that will make your wedding successful.

Importance of Family in Our Life

Family is very important part of our everyday life. It helps us in improving our personality. It also helps us in shaping our life. It teaches us the value of love, affection, care, truthfulness and self-confidence and provides us tools and suggestions which are necessary to get success in life.

Family is a place where you can be yourself. It is a place where you are accepted for what you are. This is where you are completely tension free and everyone is there to help you. Family encourages you when you are surrounded by problems. It helps you survive through tough times and bring joy and happiness into life.

Decency is very important in the communication of daily life. It helps us make strong relationship with others and make us come across as a very gentle, intelligent and likable person. Everyone loves to be in a company of such person. Family helps bring decency into our life which is necessary to lead a happy life.

One of the most important aims of our life is to build a successful and highly rewarding career. Our families help us in creating a strong future. It gives us valuable suggestion about different career prospective. It not only guides us in choosing the best but also financially helps us to cover the expenses of education. Thus it helps us in making a good future.

The importance of family is probably realized when one went to holiday or celebrate an occasion without family members. It was very hard to celebrate an occasion or went to holiday without being surrounded by family members. At that time probably we realize that how important they are to us. At that time, we came to know about the importance of our families.

Today, most people don’t realize the importance of family. They prefer to spend most of their time with their friends. But when they are surrounded by problems, it was their family that helped them get rid of problems. At the time, when even our best friends refuse to help us, it was our family that came to help us. So it is very important for each and every individual to give importance to their families above anything else and enjoy spending time with family members.