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What is lightning? And Pictures of Lightning

Enjoy these fantastic pictures of lightning and lightning bolts.

What is lightning?

Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms. In the atmospheric electrical discharge, a leader of a bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of 60,000 m/s, and bolts of lightning can reach temperatures approaching 30,000°C (54,000°F), hot enough to fuse soil or sand into glass channels. There are over 16 million lightning storms every year.

Learn more about lightning and thunder at Wikipedia.

When thunder roars, go indoors!

In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million lightning flashes each year. During the past 30 years, lightning killed an average of 58 people per year. Learn more about lightning safety at the National Weather Service Lightning Safety page.

View the current US national lightning strike map

The National Lightning map shows where cloud-to-ground lightning strikes have occurred in the last hour.