How many types of lightning are there?

Lightning is broadly categorized in three main types: cloud-to-ground, intra-cloud (inside the thunderstorm itself), and cloud-to-cloud. In addition, there are around 15 recognized observational variants that include heat lightning, dry lightning, and ball lightning. Check out our lightning page to read about [...]


Do lightning rods attract lightning?

Lightning rods do not attract lightning; they provide a conductive path for an existing electrical charge that is already in the vicinity.  The reason buildings place lightning rods around them is not to draw lightning. But instead, the lightning rod [...]


Do hurricanes produce lightning?

Typically, hurricanes do not produce lightning; and when they do, it is not as much lightning as storms that form 30 to 60 degrees north or south of the equator. Observations of hurricane Georges’ lightning activity found it was about [...]


What types of clouds produce lightning

Cumulonimbus clouds. These are the type of cumulus clouds associated with thunderstorms and heavy rains. Typically formed beneath 20,000 ft and relatively close to the ground. Sometimes they are referred to as thunderheads due to their mushroom like shape. These [...]


How is volcanic lightning formed?

A volcanic eruption produces fine particles of ash and sometimes ice. Friction between the ash and gases from the eruption produces static electricity. Sometimes called dirty thunderstorms due to moist convection and ice formation that drive plume dynamics, can trigger [...]


Does lightning strike water?

Lightning can strike anywhere on the earth including water. Large bodies of water, however, lack the geographic features that create conditions favorable to lighting; thus, lightning is less frequent over the earth’s oceans than it is over its landmasses. Although [...]

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