We’ll look at the differences and similarities between lightning and thunder and discuss some other interesting facts about thunderstorms.
Lightning is a release of electrical energy that’s almost like a gigantic spark. It can happen between clouds, or it can happen between a cloud and the ground. The light we see is produced by plasma created during the lightning strike.
Thunder is the sound you hear during a thunderstorm. It can be heard up to 25 miles away from the lightning strike that creates it. To create thunder, a lightning bolt is needed. Almost immediately after the creation of the lightning bolt, the immense heat from the lightning causes the air around the bolt to expand so rapidly that a shock wave is created.
A thunderstorm occurs because of convection. Convection is usually created by a sun-warmed ground which causes an upward movement of the atmosphere. Things like mountains will provide that nudge.
If you can hear thunder, you’re in danger of being struck by lightning. Seek immediate shelter. Once you’re in a safe location, there is a simple method to determine how far away you are from a thunderstorm. Every 5 seconds is about a mile, and if the lightning and thunder aren’t separated by a second, the storm is super close.