Asked by: Otniel Jahneke
news and politics weather

Is there such a thing as heat lightning?

Last Updated: 5th March, 2020

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To begin, there's no such thing as“heat lightning.” What people call heatlightning is actually legitimate lightning from adistant thunderstorm. Yes, you can see thunderstorms at night fromgreat distances because they often extend very high in the sky (upto 9-10 miles up) and lightning is, well,vivid.

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Considering this, is heat lightning the same as regular lightning?

There is no difference; heat lightning is nothingmore than lightning generated from a thunderstorm so distantits thunder can't be heard. However, thunder can rarely be heardmore than 15 to 20 miles from the storm.

Subsequently, question is, can Heat Lightning hurt you? According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory,lightning has been documented to travel up to 25 miles, butmore commonly strikes up to 10-15 miles away. For this reason, whatis thought of as heat lightning probably won't hurtyou, but storms move of course, so stay alert.

Hereof, what is heat lightning storm?

The term heat lightning is commonly used todescribe lightning from a distant thunderstorm just too faraway to see the actual cloud-to-ground flash or to hear theaccompanying thunder. Instead, the faint flash seen by theobserver is light being reflected off higher-levelclouds.

How common is heat lightning?

Light from a lightning bolt travels outward atover 100,000 miles per second. The flash from a lightningstrike occurring within 10 miles will reach you almostinstantaneously. Heat lightning is known as such becausethunderstorms spawning lightning often occur in thesummertime when temperatures are at their warmest.

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