University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

WDDE: Are thunderstorms on the rise in the mid-Atlantic?

Thunderstorms are a hallmark of summer in the mid-Atlantic. Warm, wet air makes the atmosphere unstable, bringing thunder, lightning, high winds and heavy rain to the region -- sometimes several times a week. Delaware has seen some particularly memorable storms in recent months -- and they're making quite an impression. In our latest installment of iSeeChange, Delaware Public Media's Annie Ropeik finds out why.

"I do wonder if there is a change, or maybe it's just my perception. When you're a kid, you're not really worried about that stuff," Painter says. "But I just feel like now, especially with these thunderstorms -- I don't recall such severe storms where I felt like a tornado or something could pop up any minute happening almost every other night."

Worse storms in the summer, and more of them -- or does it just seem that way?

"As far as we can tell, the thunderstorms are very much now the way they have been, as far back as we have records," says Delaware's state climatologist, Dan Leathers. He's also a professor at the University of Delaware. "I think the big thing that has changed is everybody's ability to share information about the thunderstorms that are occurring and to gather information."