It Never Thunders in St. John’s

It never thunders in St. John’s, Newfoundland. But it sure does in my hometown Toronto lately. I was on Facebook on August 8th, and tons of my Toronto friends were making comments on the lightning storm they were having.

That is because it was a doozy. Check out this excellent video of the storm. It looks like a scene from a horror movie.

The lightning video was shot on my dream camera – the Canon 5D Mark II. Boy, I love that camera. (If I say it aloud enough, will it come?)

Now for the fact about it never thundering in St. John’s – I can’t find it now. I know I read it somewhere and I remember I was fascinated by it, as when I left Toronto early last summer, the city was having daily thunderstorms almost every afternoon. By contrast, whatever I was reading said that on average, there were only 7 “somethings” a year in St. John’s – the somethings being either thunderstorms or lightning strikes.

My Google searches about Newfoundland lightning facts are coming up empty but I did find this interesting bit from Bishop Mullock, (September 27, 1807 – March 26, 1869) a late Roman Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland who writes often about newfoundland weather and climate.

“Thunder storms sometimes occur in the northern parts of Newfoundland, but are hardly ever known in the southern and eastern parts, unless, perhaps, once or twice in four or five years. I have never seen forked lightning in Newfoundland, and I never heard of any one being killed by lightning in the country. Newfoundland is admitted by all who have ever resided there to be the healthiest country in the world. Not a fever of any kind is generated in the country, and that fatal disease, consumption, so common on the American Continent, is hardly known there.”

I also unearthed some more St. John’s, NL weather facts. My new hometown takes first place in Canada in these categories:

* Cloudiest (only 1,497 hours of sunshine a year)
* Wettest (59.6 in)
* Foggiest (124 days a year)
* Windiest (24.3 km/h; 15.1 mph average)
* Snowiest (11.8 ft)

It, however, is not the coldest. St. John’s has the third mildest winter in Canada.

Bishop Mullock works hard to dispell the myths :

” What an awful climate, they will say, you have in Newfoundland ; how can you live there without the sun in a continual fog ? Have you been there, you ask them ? No ! they say ; but we have crossed the Banks of Newfoundland. How surprised they are then when you tell them that for ten months at least in the year, all the fog and damp of the Banks goes over to their side and descends in rain there with the south-westerly winds, while we never have the benefit of it unless when what we call the out winds blow. In fact, the geography of America is very little known, even by intelligent writers, at home, and the mistakes made in our leading periodicals are frequently very amusing. I received a letter from a most intelligent friend of mine some time since, in which he speaks of the hyperborean region of Newfoundland ; in my reply, I dated my letter from St. John’s, N. lat. 47° 30′, and I directed it to Mr. So and So, N. lat. 52°.”

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