Lightning and Thunder
Lightning is a bright flash of light during a thunderstorm. Some bolts of lightning travel from cloud to cloud. Some bolts of lightning travel from a cloud down to the ground. Lightning usually strikes high points in the landscape - like mountaintops or tall trees. A bolt of lightning is so hot that it causes the air along its path to expand, which creates the rumble of thunder.
Why Does Lightning Happen?
Have you ever shuffled your feet across a carpet wearing socks and then felt a little zap when you touched something?
When you shuttle across the carpet, you are making a little static electricity. Electricity forms when charged particles collect together and flow towards particles with the opposite charge.
Tiny particles with a negative charge rub off the carpet and onto your feet. When you touch something, they race toward particles with a positive charge while the positively charged particles race towards the negative charge. That’s what makes the zap. Static electricity is like a tiny bolt of lightning.
The same thing happens in a thunderstorm. The graphics below describe how lightning forms.