St. Elmo’s Fire: An Awesome Weather Phenomenon (& Rad 1980s Movie)

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You don’t have to be a man in motion or need a pair of wheels to understand what St. Elmo’s Fire is.

No, I’m not talking about the popular 1985 movie of the same name starring Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Demi Moore.

I’m talking about the startling weather phenomena that can bring flames to the tops of grounded objects during thunderstorms!

An example of the St. Elmo’s Fire weather phenomenon is seen in this video:

 

Named by sailors who witnessed the flames on the sails and masts of their ships during storms, St. Elmos’s Fire is often caused by lightning or static electricity within clouds.

The blue or violet coronal illumination is ionized, glowing plasma — it’s not really fire. You will sometimes see St. Elmo’s Fire on top of lightning rods, radio towers, and other tall, metal objects during a lightning storm. So, if you’re in your car and see a blue or violet flame-like haze coming off the top of the traffic signal mast in front of you, you’d better roll up your windows fast!

 

St Elmo’s Fire Weather Fun Fact

St. Erasmus is the patron saint of sailors.

Over time though, the pronunciation of St. Ermo has been slurred to St. Elmo.