Is there such a thing as heat lightning? Is heat lightning real?
Well… you’ve probably seen what people typically call heat lightning — those far off flickers of light miles away up in the clouds.
But there’s actually no such thing as heat lightning.
Heat lightning is really just ordinary lightning that is too far away for you to hear thunder from.
You see, lightning doesn’t ordinarily travel well beyond 10 to 12 miles — yet you can easily see lightning flashes up in the clouds from over 50 miles away. That’s why you can’t always hear thunder when you see heat lightning!
The answer is probably best explained by the fact that lightning is usually seen during the warm summer evenings — when the hot conditions are ripe for thunderstorms to form.
This video shows a heat lightning storm in action:
Is heat lightning dangerous?
No, not really since the lightning you’re seeing is so far away and isn’t within striking distance of where you are.
Does heat lightning have thunder?
No, not that you can hear from the distance away that you’re seeing it. However, anyone within close range of those lightning strikes will definitely hear the thunder.
I’m a roller coaster junkie, a weather enthusiast, a frequent traveler, and a numismatist. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). I’ve also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, food, and living green… on a budget.