Video: St. Elmo’s Fire on a Frozen Lake
OutdoorHub Reporters 01.29.16
Have you ever had electricity shooting from your fingertips? If you did, you either have superpowers or experienced a relatively minor brush with a phenomenon known as St. Elmo’s fire. It is a rare occurrence whereby highly charged air, such as after a thunderstorm, will create a discharge of electricity from certain objects. It is usually seen on airplanes and ships, but can happen to humans as well. According to WISC-TV, Rudy Moore encountered the phenomenon while walking on Wisconsin’s frozen Lake Monona.
“I have never seen this before, it’s like, not believable,” he said after he found the characteristic flicker of St. Elmo’s fire on his fingers.
The feeling is similar to static electricity, and experts say it likely occurred in the lake because of its frozen surface and snow falling nearby.
“The difference in charge between the area they were in and the area receiving the snow provided enough current for the air to ionize,” said WISC-TV meteorologist Bob Lesh.
That meant if you put your hand or some other object in the air, it will start conducting some of that electricity. If you’re out ice fishing and you notice sparks coming off your fingers, don’t think you’re superhuman just yet. It might be St. Elmo’s fire.