Q:

How is thunder made?

A:

Quick Answer

Thunder is the sound created when lightning passes through the air, causing it to rapidly heat and cool, resulting in a massive pressure wave that can be heard. A single lightning bolt can raise the temperature of the air around it as high as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Know More

Full Answer

Using the sound of thunder, an observer can make an educated estimation of the distance from the lightning strike they are. This is because sound travels at a constant rate, and the sound of thunder travels at approximately one mile every five seconds. With this formula, anyone caught outside during a lightning storm can tell just how close the lightning is, and how urgently they need to move indoors. Suitable shelter should be sought any time lightning is striking in the immediate area due to the substantial threat it presents. Direct strikes can be lethal and indirect strikes can damage structures or start fires. Greater risk is present in areas which have tall structures or trees, or to those in and near bodies of water. If shelter can't be found inside a building taking cover inside a vehicle is the next best option as the rubber tires provide greater protection from the electrical current being discharged.

Learn more about Storms

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why does thunder come before lightning?

    A:

    The air surrounding a bolt of lightning heats up so rapidly that it forces the air to quickly expand, creating the sound of thunder. Lightning can instantly heat the air to over 48,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which doesn't give the air time to expand naturally.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is heat lightning a myth?

    A:

    The old folk tale that a hot summer evening can cause lighting without a thunderstorm is false. What is known as "heat lightning" is normal lightning generated by a thunderstorm that's too far away for thunder to be heard.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How fast is lightning?

    A:

    A bolt of lightning travels at approximately 224,000 miles per hour or approximately 3,700 miles per second. Lightning is a discharge of static electricity that has accumulated as a result of collisions between ice particles in storm clouds.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a thunder lizard?

    A:

    "Thunder lizard" is a colloquial name for the dinosaur genus Brontosaurus (or Apatosaurus). When translated from Greek, the word "brontosaurus" means "thunder lizard" in English. The Brontosaurus lived during the Jurassic Period and was one of the largest animals to have ever lived.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore