Five second rule of lightning

Local News

With all the thunder and lightning we had yesterday you may have been thinking about the gap between when you see the lightning and when you hear the thunder. You can use that gap in time to your advantage to figure out how far a lightning strike is from you using the 5 second rule.

For every 5 seconds between seeing lightning and hearing thunder, the storm is an additional mile away. If the gap is 5 seconds the lightning strike was 1 mile away, if there’s a 15 second gap then the lightning strike was 3 miles away.

There are several types of lightning some people refer to a thunderstorm without thunder as heat lightning. Heat lightning actually doesn’t exist, but it just means a storm is so far away from you that the sound of thunder has dissipated so you can’t hear it.

Cloud to ground lightning is the most common type of lightning, but lightning can strike up to 15 miles away from a storm. So if you ever hear thunder you’re close enough to a storm to get struck by lightning.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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