Fast as Lightning

The fastest flashes move at 140,000km per second (87,000 miles per seconds) – fast enough to go three times round the Equator in one second, but of course lightning does not travel that far. The longest flashes of lightning are about 30km (19 miles) form cloud to ground.

If you want to know how far away a thunderstorm is, see how many times you count slowly up to five between the flash and rumble. Every group of the five equals a mile. Count in groups of three to get kilometers.

If you don’t like thunderstorms don’t go near the Tropics. There are over 3,000 thunderstorms somewhere in the Tropics, or nearby, every night. Bogor in Java has thunder on up to 320 nights every year.

Interesting Facts:

- The heaviest snowstorm fell on Mount Shasta in California. For six days it never stopped snowing and at the end, the snow was nearly 5m (16ft) deep.

- In Britain the Thames used to freeze and people held fairs on the ice. The last was held in 1814.

A Million People – How Many is that?

Q: In 1961 in the First World War one million men were killed in one battle, the battle of the Somme. In Britain in 1992 over three million people were unemployed. Suppose a million people decided to march in rows of four, 1.5m (5ft) apart, form Trafalgar Square in London, north to the M1, where do you think the front of the column would be when the last people left? Would they reach M1 at all? Would they reach St. Albans; 32 km (23 miles) form London? Or would they get farther?

A: The front of the column would have marched 375 km (234 miles) before the millionth person left Trafalgar Square. They would have passed through Leeds and be within 6km (4 miles) of Richmond in North Yorkshire.

Q: An old advertisement began…

A million housewives everyday pick up a can of beans…if they put all their baked beans together, could they fill a bath tub? 10 bath tubs? A public swimming pool?

A: Baked beans bonanza: a million cans of baked beans would fill a swimming pool 25m by 13.5m to a depth of 1.5m (82ft by 44ft by 5ft)

Q: If you piled a million soft drink cans on a top of the other, how high would they reach?

1) as high as Mount Everest (8,848m/ 29,030ft)?

2) 110km (68 miles) into the ionosphere where satellites orbits?

3) 384,402km (238,867 miles), right to the Moon itself?

A: the soft drink cans would reach 110km (68 miles). Not to the Moon – even the fizziest drink in not that spectacular!