Lightning is a type of electricity caused when ice particles collide with each other. Both lightning and thunder are aspects of a storm. But did you know that thunder is actually caused by lightning? There are many ways that you can stay safe during a storm and as long as you are sensible, you should be fine when lightning strikes.
HOW LIGHTNING IS FORMED
When frozen raindrops clash with one another, the biggest particles settle close to the bottom of the cloud while the smaller particles lift to the top. As this is happening, the smaller particles are charged positively and the bigger particles take on the negative charge. Almost everything underneath the cloud is negatively charged because once the negative charge grows at the bottom of the cloud, everything under it is driven away. Since opposite charges attract, both charges eventually meet at what is called an electrical current and what we see as lightning.
HOW THUNDER RELATES TO LIGHTNING
Lightning is actually the cause of thunder. When a lightning bolt shoots down from the cloud, it punches a whole through the air and after the lightning has gone the air collapses back into the whole which makes the clapping sound of thunder. Since light travels faster than sound, if you are a distance away you will see the flash of lightning (because lightning is light) and then a few seconds later you will hear the thunder.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES
There are a number of ways to stay safe when lightning strikes. It's best to stay indoors or find shelter if you get caught in a thunderstorm. Make sure not to touch anything that is a conductor of electricity such as golf clubs or a metal umbrella. Cars are also ideal to stay inside if you are out in a storm. Since they have rubber tyres, cars are safe. If your hair is standing on end, you are in danger of being struck by lightning. Try not to stay under trees or on hillsides.
-"Help me there's lightning!" Guided Reading Book
-National Geographic Website