The New York city was jolted awake from its stupor as blaring cracks of thunder were reported by residents across the city on Monday morning. With the help of Vaisala lightening sensors, Chris Vagasky claimed that there were around five cloud-to-ground lightning strikes recorded in the Manhattan area.
Thermal inversion hanging over New York city is believed to be the reason behind this unusually charged thunderclap. On the ground, the temperature was recorded around 51 degrees but around 900 feet in the air instead of cooling down the temperature had warmed up to 54 degrees. That inversion was then able to trap sound waves near the surface, as explained by Fox Weather Meteorologist and Data Weather Specialist Shane Brown.
Another Fox Weather Producer Greg Diamond stated that the thunder was unusually loud and lasted much longer than a regular one. Further adding that the thunder roared several times, "I'd estimate the loudest part lasted about 2-4 seconds and instead of the usual single loud crack of thunder sounds."
Lightening even hit the top of the World Trade Center, but that's not surprising as the building is rather accustomed to being struck with bolts whenever thunderstorms occur in the city. Vagasky reports the WTC is struck by lightning about 109 times per year on average, according to NY Post.
Brown explained, "sound propagation can vary based on the temperature characteristics of the atmosphere near the point of origin. In an environment where you have a shallow layer of cold air at the surface covered by warmer air aloft you can in a sense 'trap' the sound waves from refracting upwards. This leads to sound waves that tend to dissipate slower and can extend further in distance."
So much for the 'City that never sleeps', that even those who slept soundly woke up startled.