How to Calculate The Distance Of Lightning

We usually see the lightning before we hear the thunder. To calculate how far it is away from you, start counting after you see a flash of lightning and stop once you hear the thunder. 

If you count 5 seconds, it’s one mile away. Ten seconds means two miles away. It’s important to remember that if you can see lightning or hear thunder, you’re in striking distance.
There are two types of lightning. Negative and positive. 

Negative lightning is typically at the bottom of the storm clouds and makes up 95% of all lightning on earth. Since it’s lower, it’s easier to strike the ground.

Positive lightning typically lives in the tops of the clouds and in the anvil. It makes up 5% of all lightning and is the most powerful. Positive lightning is actually ten times more powerful than negative lightning. In fact, negative lightning has 300 million volts… positive has 1 billion volts 

When winds are strong, the storm can tilt which exposes those positive charges to the ground, making it easier to reach you or your home. Positive lightning can strike 15 miles away from the storm. 

It’s important to heed warnings because if you survive a lightning strike, the chances are very high for lifelong neurological damage. 
 

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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