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Q:

# How many volts are in a lightning bolt?

A:

According to the National Severe Storm Laboratory, a single lightning bolt can have 100 million to 1 billion volts, and it contains billions of watts, depending on whether it is positive lightning or negative lightning. Lightning strikes ground in the United States approximately 25 million times each year.

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Positive lightning, which comprises less than 5 percent of all lightning, originates on top of the clouds, rather than the lower portion of the storm, as negative lightning. These type of lightning can travel up to 25 miles horizontally in the air before they strike the ground and are sometimes called "bolts from the blue." Because of the greater distance to the ground, they develop much higher voltages.

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## Related Questions

• A:

The Watts formula, P=V x I, shows the relationship between volts, amps and watts. The "P" signifies power in watts, "V" denotes voltage in volts and "I" stands for the current in amps. This formula is used in electrical calculations and can be used in conjunction with Ohm's law.

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• A:

Lightning forms when opposite charges between a cloud and the ground or between two clouds develop. The charges have to be large enough to overcome the resistance of air to create a visible lightning spark. A single lightning strike can reach up to 100 million volts and generate temperatures five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

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• A:

Lightning is caused by an electric current inside a thundercloud that connects with the ground beneath the cloud. Lightning occurs when tiny pieces of ice start bumping into one another as they travel through the air. The collisions of ice generate an electric charge inside the cloud.