Which is first thunder or lightning?

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asked May 4, 2022 in Weather by Robeson (2,490 points)
Which is first thunder or lightning?

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answered May 5, 2022 by Salmorejo (38,440 points)
Lightning is first before thunder.

During a thunderstorm you'll see the lightning first and then a few seconds later or a few minutes later the thunder will occur.

However it may only take a second between the thunder and lightning as the times between the thunder and lightning can vary.

When you are watching the sky you see the lightning before you hear the thunder.

This is because the light travels much faster than sound waves and you can estimate the distance of the lightning by counting how many seconds it takes until we hear the thunder.

It takes approximately 5 seconds for the sound to travel 1 mile.

A thunderstorm is a violent short-lived weather disturbance that is almost always associated with lightning, thunder, dense clouds, heavy rain or hail, and strong gusty winds.

Thunderstorms arise when layers of warm, moist air rise in a large, swift updraft to cooler regions of the atmosphere.

Lightning causes thunder!

Energy from a lightning channel heats the air briefly to around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, much hotter than the surface of the sun.

This causes the air to explode outward.

Signs that thunder are coming include.

Large, puffy cumulus clouds.
Darkening sky and clouds.
Abrupt changes in wind direction.
Sudden drop in temperature.
Drop in atmospheric pressure.

In the summer, thunderstorms typically develop in the afternoon when the sun heats air near the ground.

If the atmosphere is unstable, bubbles of warm air will rise and produce clouds, precipitation, and eventually lightning.

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