Airbus Pilot Takes Stunning Image Of A Rare Phenomenon Known As ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ During A Hurricane

A pilot who was flying an Airbus from Miami to Denver during Hurricane Ian last year witnessed an extremely unusual weather phenomenon called ‘St Elmo’s Fire.’ This came like a bolt of purple lightning shooting across the night sky. 

This happens when during thunderstorms the atmosphere becomes charged and an electrical discharge of plasma is developed between an object and the air surrounding it.

Luis Andress, the captain of the plane stated that he had never seen the phenomenon with this much ‘intensity’ before.

Hurricane Ian hit Florida on September 28. It came as a  Category 4 when it made landfall and was as dangerous as the state had seen since 1935’s Labor Day hurricane.

‘I live in Florida, and was doing the MIA-DEN on the same day Hurricane Ian was passing by. It was a spectacle to see the phenomenon of St. Elmo’s Fire. It was such a show,’ Andress said in a statement per South West News Service (SWNS).

‘I was impressed because it was my first time seeing them with that intensity.’

The storm caused between $1.1 billion and $1.8 billion of damage to the state’s agricultural infrastructure alone.

WNCT reports the phenomenon of friction that becomes intense within a storm as it grows, creating powerful electric fields that can travel from the cloud down to the ground.

An electric field breaks down the air into a plasma with a ton of voltage present and the voltage rips apart air molecules.

Finally, a corona discharge occurs that is essentially the St. Elmo’s fire.

The phenomenon was also witnessed by a military aircrew in 2020.

The RAF said the C-17 crew experienced it while flying through the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) at night.

‘The electrical weather phenomenon of St Elmo’s Fire isn’t dangerous, but it usually means you’re surrounded by storms!’ the RAF tweeted.

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