Thunderstorms can happen in any season, but June is usually the most active month. They can form in less than 30 minutes and last for hours. Typically, though, a thunderstorm lasts approximately 30 minutes and, on average, is roughly 15 miles wide.

More Thunderstorm Facts

  • Thunderstorms start with rising warm air and moisture. Convection = thunderstorms.
  • Know someone who is afraid of thunder and lightning? Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning.
  • Lightning kills and injures more people each year than hurricanes and tornadoes. It can travel 10-12 miles from the thunderstorm.
  • You can use thunder/lightning to determine how far away a thunderstorm is from you. Count the seconds between a flash of lightning and when you hear thunder, then divide by 5. The answer is the distance between you and the storm. Use this method to track whether the storm is coming toward you or moving away.




  • There is no such thing as Heat Lightning. Light travels faster than sound. You can see the distant flash, but you are too far away for the sound to reach you. People associate summer heat with distant lightning because the summer months are more active. You have a better chance of seeing lightning on the horizon in the evenings.
  • Most thunderstorms have hail, but there are times when the hail melts before reaching the ground. Hail can reach softball size, causing damage to property.
  • Thunderstorm winds – a downdraft, also known as straight-line winds – can reach over 100 mph. A thunderstorm is severe when it can produce hail 1-inch or larger or wind gusts over 58 mph.



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