How does “heat lightning” work? Why doesn’t it make thunder?

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How does “heat lightning” work? Why doesn’t it make thunder?

In: Physics

Heat lightning is lightning that is very far away, but conditions like overcast let you see the flash over great distances, up to 100 miles away. It makes thunder, but sound doesn’t carry anywhere near as far as light so you can’t hear it. But anyone who was nearby to the actual lightning strike would’ve heard thunder.

Edit: Oh, and it doesn’t actually have anything to do with heat. The name’s a misnomer.

It does. You’re just not close enough to hear it. “Heat lightning” is regular lightning seen from a distance, several miles away. You can still see the flash, but the sound dissipates before it gets to you.

The two big things to understand:

* “Heat Lighting” is just normal lightning

* “Heat Lighting” has nothing to do with heat

The entire concept is essentially just misinformation. Heat Lighting is just normal lightning from a storm that is far away, and due to atmospheric condions, you can see the flashes but not hear the thunder.