Weather Whys: Lightning

Weather Whys

There are probably a dozen questions you may have about weather on a regular basis. 

Meteorologist Amber Wheeler is here to answer a burning question she gets quite often in this week’s Weather Whys.

Being that it’s now Spring and thunderstorms are a little more plentiful, we hear thunder and see a ton of lightning on a regular basis. So I got a question from a very young inquiring mind,  


 “excuse me, I was wondering how does thunder crackle? Thank you Ms. Weatherologist” 

This really is such a great question! What makes that thunder sound? To answer Dylan’s question, we first have to talk about what causes lighting.


It’s basically an electrical charge that creates something like a spark in the atmosphere. 
Inside a thunderstorm there are tiny ice crystals that rub up against each other. They cause an electrical charge to build up within the cloud. Just like everything on this planet, that energy is looking for a way to neutralize… so the negative charge is looking for a positive charge. 

In this case of cloud to ground lightning, (amber change) the negative charge is in the clouds… (amber change) this naturally creates a positive charge on the ground. When the build up is strong, (amber change) they meet to release that energy. That’s the lightning. 

What we hear is all that pressure and the heat from that lightning moving through the air very abruptly… that’s what makes that thunder sound. The lightning is so hot and so powerful that we can actually hear it pushing through the air particles! 

If the sound is more of a rumble, then the storm is further away. The louder and crisper the crack, the closer the storm is to us. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Stories

More Local News

Recent Videos

Amber's Tuesday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 10/20

Snow & hazardous travel conditions today

NDC OCT 20

Girl Scout Project

High School Volleyball

Grant County Flasher Football

Bishop Ryan Volleyball

Century Football

Warmer Weather?

Corn Yield

District 28 Preview

Amtrak Changes

Monday, October 19th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder

KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader 10/19

ATW: Rugby Sibling Teammates

ATW: Velva Football

ATW: Hannah Herbal

Space Heaters

WATCH: Best friend reunion at Georgia pumpkin patch goes viral

Prepare for more widespread snow

More Video

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss