VERIFY QUESTION

You see the flash and start counting... one, two, three.... {crack}. The storm must be close by.

Usually, lightning gives us a heads up about storms before thunder does, because light travels faster than sound. But what about that lightning you can see but never hear? Most of us refer to it as 'heat lightning.' 

WFMY News 2 weather spotter Chris Burleson asked, "Is there such a thing as heat lightning?"

VERIFY SOURCE

WFMY News 2 meteorologist Eric Chilton answered our inquiry.

VERIFY PROCESS

"People use the term loosely, and because of its name, they think it is based on temperature and humidity. The truth is that heat lightning does not actually exist," Chilton explained.

He said the flashes you associate as "heat lightning" are flashes of real lightning from a distant thunderstorm. The sound of thunder does not travel all the way up to where you're observing the lightning.

"You can see lightning from a thunderstorm up to 100 miles away, but unless you're within 10 to 15 miles of the storm, you probably won't hear the thunder."

Lightning can happen at any time of the year, even in the winter, as long as cold air and hot air come together.

VERIFY CONCLUSION

Heat lightning is a misnomer. Lightning is lightning, and some of it is just too far away for you to hear the thunder that goes with it.

Do you have a VERIFY inquiry? Submit a selfie video of the question to Meghann Mollerus via:

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E-mail: Mmollerus@wfmy.com

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