The 5 second rule for lightning

WEATHER: Like It or Not!
CHICAGO (WLS) -- You may have heard of the 5 second rule when it comes to dropped food on the floor - but have you heard of the weather 5 second rule?

It can help you determine how far away lightning is from your location.

When you see lighting in the distance, start counting.

The thunder travels away from the lightning bolt and in about 5 seconds it will have traveled 1 mile.

So for every 5 seconds you count before you hear thunder, that equals 1 mile.

Now the speed that the sound of thunder travels varies depending on the air temperature.

Thunder travels faster in warm air and slower in colder air, but it all is about 5 seconds per mile.

As thunder moves farther away from the lightning bolt, the sound starts to dissipate. This creates the phenomena of heat lightning.

Believe it or not, but there is no such thing as heat lightning. What you are seeing is lighting from a distant thunderstorm but you are too far away to hear the thunder.


Lightning safety tips

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