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The Science of Lightning

How it strikes | Thunder | Estimating distance | Facts

During any given minute, there are more than a thousand thunderstorms around the Earth causing some 6,000 flashes of lightning. Every minute!

As the stepped leader nears the ground, a positive streamer reaches up for it. Only then, once this channel is made, does the visible lightning happen. A return stroke runs from the ground to the clouds in a spectacular flash.