Lightning is visible through a silhouette of trees
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Image Courtesy of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research/Carlye Calvin

Thunder and Lightning

Lightning is the coolest thing about a thunderstorm. In fact, it is how thunderstorms got their name. Wait a minute, what does thunder have to do with lightning? Well, lightning causes thunder.

Lightning is a giant spark. It can heat the air around it to extremely hot temperatures! This makes the air expand. The expansion creates a booming sound wave, better known as thunder. This explains why it has the name thunderstorm.

Last modified May 27, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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