The “Night-Storm” Theory: Night Storms Seem Worse

Posted By Andrew Freiden

Storms like last Sunday night’s become topics of conversation the next day.  People come into work groggy after losing sleep and share stories of their lightning-filled sleepless night. 

I think that storms in the middle of the night seem much worse than storms during the day even if they have equal intensity.  Keep in mind that I’m not saying last night’s storms were no big deal.  They were!  I just think if the exact same storm happened at 2pm, It wouldn’t feel as intense.

Here are a few reasons why:

1:  Being awakened from a deep sleep by a loud crack of thunder can be disconcerting at least and for some people it’s terrifying.

2:  We miss the warning signs of impending bad weather (since we’re asleep) which makes the storm seem like it came out of nowhere.

3:  Thunder and lightning keep us up, which makes the “night-storm” experience even worse, as you dread waking up the next day after losing sleep.

4:  While you lay in bed awake,  you get a strobe light effect from all the lightning.  During the day, lightning competes with the sun, washing out lightning strikes that are far away.  At night, lightning flashes can be visible from a greater distance, making it seem like there’s more of it out there.

5.  Credit to NBC12 New Media-Guru Phil Riggan for this one:  You lay there thinking, “which one of my kids/dogs is going to wake up crying first?” which just adds to the anxiety.

So, what are your thoughts?  Do you think my theory has any validity?  Let me know in the comments section.


26 Responses to The “Night-Storm” Theory: Night Storms Seem Worse

  1. Angie says:

    We just want some rain and I love thunderstorms at night. We live in Keysville,Va and haven’t gotten anything from the storms!!

  2. dave says:

    can someone please tell me why when there’s a 20% chance of storms (like Sunday night) we get completely rocked, and when there is a 70% chance like yesterday, we don’t get a drop? I personally am really starting to get frustrated by the unrealiability of the % issued by NWS. I almost start to expect it to completely miss us when the chances are high.

    • afreiden says:

      First: There WAS rain yesterday in the viewing area. We weren’t all dry.
      Second: On a night with a 20 percent chance of rain, you’d expect rain on 2 of 10 of the nights that have those weather conditions. Sunday night was in the 2 of 10. Sadly, there is no guarantees in weather and the percentages are the only way to go when it comes to the pattern we are in right now.

  3. Angela says:

    Why are most of the severe storms at night? It seems like it very rarely is thundering and lightning during the day. It tends to be after 4pm.

  4. Linda says:

    Well, I hate storms, but night is worse. The weather called for a “slight chance of a stray shower” overnight. I could tell by the radar, it might be more than that, so I stayed up, until about 4:30 a.m. Both my kids woke up, the dog was scared and even my husband woke up and he sleeps through everything.
    I was happy to have channel 12 radar on, during those wee hours of the a.m., so I could get a constant update on the storms, so I could finally go to bed. I have a weather radio, but I really like being able to see the radar.
    I’m defintely more afraid of night time storms.

  5. todd says:

    On a different subject i thought tv weather men gave a humidity % number in the old days every night. Am I wrong? I just would like to hear it instead of the dew point which means little to me. thanks

  6. VA-native says:

    Oh I can remember waking up to the loud crashes of thunder in the middle of the night. I must say Andrew, your theory is right. I now live in Florida and we do not get that many late night storms here as VA had. However, I have seen some spectacular light shows with cloud to cloud lightning from storms off in the distance in the late evening hours, I am a big storm watcher. 😉 Great blog entry Andrew!

  7. Kare says:

    I agree with #5. Night storms use to mean great sleeping weather. Now I lay awake wondering if I should move my two little kids downstairs. Just in case one of the many oak trees surrounding my house should fall on my house.

    • afreiden says:

      My wife thought our nearly 2-year old daughter was going to get up but I was confident she’d stay asleep. She didn’t wake up! I think it’s the front porch storm-watching that she does with dad…

  8. strange mark says:

    Is it just my thoughts or is very unusual for it to be this warm every night with low temperatures near or above 70 degrees fahrenhiet for weeks on end. I can just remember when i was younger most night time low temperatures in june/july were about 60 degrees.

    • afreiden says:

      Not unusual at all. Our 30-yr ave. low for this week is 69. It only has to be slightly warmer than average to get lows in the low 70s. And this year it took us 1/2 of summer to finally get these warm overnight lows.

  9. Jean says:

    My husband and I both were awake for quite sometime last night. Our satellite went out as it usually does at the drop of a hat. I never like storms, but at night it is worse for me because if the electricity goes off, as it does during most storms, without satellite or computer I have no way of tracking how bad the storms are or what is going on.
    I always have had a battery television and with the new changeover it is no good. Really do miss having it to use.

    • SCS says:

      Why Jean! You need to get a weather radio from Kroger! Don’t forget the batteries for back up if the power goes out!

  10. Matt Denardo says:

    I don’t find night-time storms anymore disturbing than day-time storms. What’s there to be afraid of if you are inside your house laying in bed? Unless one are afraid that the storm could turn into a tornado but if that is what frightens people just jump into a underground storm bunker and ride it out. Unless one does not have a bunker in that case they shouldn’t worry because if it is a real tornado barreling down on them, then theyll go quickly

  11. Billie says:

    You’re right Andrew. Night storms are way more intense. Strobe lighting is so great. I love Storms! Bring um on again tonight. 🙂

  12. Sandy says:

    Don’t forget all the murderers, monsters, and insane that are out on stormy nights in all the scary flicks just waiting to get you.

  13. Sirius The Star Dog says:

    Sounds are louder at night b/c of ducting.

    The ground cools as sunset approached…creating a low-level inversion which traps the sound as it propagates.

    • afreiden says:

      Good point! maybe I should add “#6” to the theory: Long, drawn out rumbles of thunder in the distance make the storms SOUND worse.

  14. WxDan says:

    Andrew, I think you’re on to something.

    Even if you’re awake when storms like these pop up (which I was last night), sudden flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder can be pretty disturbing.

    My poor roommate, who was woken up by the storms, wasn’t sure if it was actually thunder or just people in the apartment upstairs sounding like elephants again.

  15. Elaine says:

    I like storms at night better than the day for those very reasons. I love to watch the lightning. Last night the storm woke me up but I was tired so I only saw a few minutes of the lightning then went back to sleep!

  16. Erin says:

    Oh yes, your theories are definitely correct!! It also seems that night storms are louder because there is nothing (tv, radio, screaming kids or barking animals) competing with the sounds of the storm outside!

  17. Brian says:

    We got a nice amount of rain from that storm last night, we also had a period of hail from it out here in King William. I think you are right about it seeming worse because it catches most of us off guard because we are asleep.

  18. Tracy Lynn says:

    I love this blog entry! You are so right.. night storms are the worst because the house is quiet and dark and the storms light up the bedroom. Who can sleep with all that noise?

  19. Julia says:

    Have no idea how long it lasted but seemed like I was awake for hours trying to keep the dog (who was in the bed) calm, so she wouldn’t wake my husband. This was the 1st time I’ve had to do that. I must not have heard the initial noise because it didn’t seem like a huge storm to me. Glad for the rain, and thankful I could sleep in. And hopefully she did didn’t wake hubby who had to get up and go to work.

  20. Mighty Dyckerson says:

    You might be on to something, professor! It’s like that “heat index” thing where it feels hotter outside when it’s more humid! I think there could be a Nobel in your future…

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