Why do Lightning and Thundering happen?

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We all see the breathtaking lightning along with the thunderstorm. So basically, how & why lightning and thundering happens?

Cloud & Earth

Lightning is a discharge of electricity. And just a single stroke of lightning can heat the air around it up to 30,000°C. This heating causes the air to expand rapidly. This extremely fast expansion of air creates a wave that turns into a booming sound wave, know as thunder.

What happens within the cloud?

We know that the clouds are made up of very cold ice crystals. These ice crystals move up and down in the turbulent air and they crash into each other. Small negatively charged particles called electrons are knocked off some ice and added to other ice as they crash past each other. This phenomenon separates the positive and negative charges of the cloud. And the top of the cloud becomes highly positively charged and the bottom of the cloud becomes highly negatively charged.

How is Lightning formed?

We know that Earth is a highly positive charged body. And because opposites attract, the negative charge at the bottom of the storm cloud wants to link up with the ground’s positive charge. Once the negative charge at the bottom of the cloud gets large enough, a flow of negative charge called a stepped leader rushes toward the Earth’s surface

Lightning and Thundering

The positive charges at the ground are attracted to the stepped leader, so positive charge flows upward from the ground. When the stepped leader and the positive charge meet, a strong electric current carries a positive charge up into the cloud. We see this electric current as of the bright flash of lightning.


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Why thundering happens after lightning?

Thunder and lightning occur roughly at the same time. But lights travels much faster than sound (Click here to find Speed of light & speed of sound). This difference makes time delay between seeing the lightning and hearing the thundering.

How to be safe while lightning?

  • Find an indoor shelter.
  • Get to low ground.
  • Distance yourself from tall objects.
  • Avoid using a landline for calling.
  • Don’t go near fences.

So hope you understood the reason why lightning and thundering happens and how to keep yourself safe from this.

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Thank you!!!

You may like to read: Why is the sky blue?

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Jaikamal is a very fluctuating mind person who always looks for knowledge or resources of knowledge. He believes that knowledge is the key to success.

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