[ELI5] Why does rain sometimes have thunder / lightning, and sometimes it doesn’t?

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[ELI5] Why does rain sometimes have thunder / lightning, and sometimes it doesn’t?

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

First, you need ice phase hydrometeors to get lightning. If cloud tops were short enough so that there was no ice in the cloud, you will not get lightning. Second, even if you do get ice phase particles, they need to interact to build up charge separation.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Thunder and lightning occur when electricity flows through the
atmosphere during very strong storms. Rain can occur with or without
thunder and lightning because the two events are not directly related.
Lightning is caused by friction between ice and liquid rain that creates
static electricity. If the weather is right, this can spark into a huge
bolt of lightning. Thunder is simply the sound of the lightning bolt.