Lightning vs. Thunder: What are the Main Differences?

We’ll look at the differences and similarities between lightning and thunder and discuss some other interesting facts about thunderstorms.

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Lightning vs. Thunder: What is Lightning?

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.

Lightning vs. Thunder: What is Thunder?

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.

Lightning vs. Thunder: What is a Thunderstorm?

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. 

Lightning vs. Thunder: What Should I Do During a Thunderstorm?

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.

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