Interesting facts about lightning


Lightning is an amazing and breathtaking sight to witness. At the same time it is one of the most dangerous and unpredictable of all natural phenomena.

Lightning is a powerful burst of electricity that happens very quickly during a thunderstorm.

A bolt of lightning is 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun.

Lightning is caused by an electrical charge in the atmosphere that is unbalanced.

Lightning can occur inside clouds, between clouds and from clouds to the ground.

lightning inside clouds

Around one quarter of lightning is from cloud to ground.

Most lightning strikes average 3 to 5 kilometers (2 to 3 miles) long and carry a current of 10000 Amps at 100 million Volts.

Lightning strikes usually last around 1 or 2 microseconds.

A stroke of lightning moves about 99,780 kilometer (62,000 miles) per second–one-third the speed of light.

Lightning flashes more than three million times a day worldwide that’s about 40 times a second.

Lightning can also occur during volcanic eruptions, dust storms, snow storms, forest fires and tornadoes.

volcanic eruption lightning

A “Positive Giant” is a lightning strike that hits the ground up to 32 kilometers (20 miles) away from the storm. Because it seems to strike from a clear sky it is known as “A Bolt From The Blue”. These”Positive Giant” flashes strike between the storm’s top “anvil” and the Earth and carry several times the destructive energy of a “regular” lightning strike.

Ball lightning, a small, charged sphere that floats, glows, and bounces along oblivious to the laws of gravity or physics, still puzzles scientists.

ball lightning

Thunder can only be heard about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away under good quiet outdoor conditions.

A lot of people think that lightning never strikes the same place twice but Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit about 25 times a year.

lightning hitting empire state building

Trees sometimes can take direct hits from lightning and not get burnt – the electricity passes over their wet surface and goes straight into the ground.

Lightning kills about 2,000 people a year, so stay inside during lightning storms.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists Roy Sullivan of Virginia as the human being struck by lightning the most times: seven.

The irrational fear of lightning is known as keraunophobia. The fear of thunder is termed brontophobia.

Ancient Greeks believed that when a lightning strike hit the sea a new pearl appeared.

The Aztecs believed that lightning accompanied the dead, splitting the Earth and making its way into its depths.

Some scientists think that lightning may have played a part in the evolution of living organisms.