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Lightning storm with no thunder [West Lothian 14.12.13]


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As the title, Lightning storm with no thunder in West Lothian on 14.12.13, watched this from Polbeth around midnight - 1am (sunday)... at first thought it was a powerline sparking in the distance (till my girlfriend said there are none over that way), but at one point the entire room lit up, so it was real close... it then moved off towards Livingston. All of this happend with not one sound of thunder at all, I was amazed by it, and eventually told to; 'get away from the window and sit down, its late'.Still don't understand it. Weird weekend, saw 4 shooting stars over Friday / Satruday too... same place, but once in Edinburgh. Anyways, anyone else see this, or understand why?

 

(I saw an old post after a google search that took me here, but post was archieved).

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Posted
  • Location: Bedford Bedfordshire
  • Weather Preferences: Fire tornado
  • Location: Bedford Bedfordshire

    I have seen storms like this many of times, It's called heat lightning. It is when the storm is far enough away from you that the sound of the thunder can't reach you, But the light has no problem being visible since light travels much further then sound, Hope this helps

    Also welcome to the net-weather forum!

    Edited by TheToastPeople
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    Posted
  • Location: Back in Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Location: Back in Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)

    i posted a thread similar to this on a storm i noted in Calgary in the summer of 2012..when the storm was literally on top of my location lots of lightning but no thunder whats so ever..so distance and the dissipation of sound was not a factor.

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    Posted
  • Location: LEVEN, Fife
  • Weather Preferences: snow, thunderstorms and extremes
  • Location: LEVEN, Fife

    As the title, Lightning storm with no thunder in West Lothian on 14.12.13, watched this from Polbeth around midnight - 1am (sunday)... at first thought it was a powerline sparking in the distance (till my girlfriend said there are none over that way), but at one point the entire room lit up, so it was real close... it then moved off towards Livingston. All of this happend with not one sound of thunder at all, I was amazed by it, and eventually told to; 'get away from the window and sit down, its late'.Still don't understand it. Weird weekend, saw 4 shooting stars over Friday / Satruday too... same place, but once in Edinburgh. Anyways, anyone else see this, or understand why?

     

    (I saw an old post after a google search that took me here, but post was archieved).

    It sounds like the lightning was near the top of the cloud, so the thunder was in audible. Usually, thunder can be heard up to 10km from the storm.

     

    Meanwhile, several people heard loud thunder in my area (I slept through it).

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    Posted
  • Location: limavady N.I 23m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Cold and snowy
  • Location: limavady N.I 23m ASL

    i saw this before a good few years ago but with no clouds either and the flashes were also very close it was really weird.

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    Yeah thanks guys, however Cheeky_Monkey's thoughts are similar to my own, also very little cloud that night, and at one point lit up the room I was in, like right over head, but no thunder... it was strong flashes of lightning, I never saw any forks for example, but very unusal (so unusal it make me join this forum to mention it).

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    Posted
  • Location: Slovenia, Central Europe 1050m ASL
  • Location: Slovenia, Central Europe 1050m ASL

    If someone would give me 10€ for each time I experienced this, than this time next year, I'd be a millionaire. Posted Image

     

    I experience this around 3-5 times per year at least. I live on a south slope (1050m ASL) of a 1600m high hill. Now every time there is a storm on the north side of the hill, or sometimes even right next to the north slope, I see awesome lightning displays (at night of course), but practically no thunder. I remember once, when the storm was not far to the north, so pretty much 50% of the tower was visible, and the anvil stretching to the south, pretty much beyond my house at around 14km I think was the height measured by the radar. So as I was getting my photo gear up and ready, the fog moved in and engulfed us. And that was a decent show, because the lightning in the tower, and some occasional crawlers in the anvil, lit up the fog. At one point, my mom said, "oh gosh we are in the storm", because the flashes were so bright and there was fog everywhere. It wasn't long before she figured out that there is no thunder to go with that lightning, so I explained to her what was going on. 

     

    The bottom line is, that there is no possibility for a lightning discharge in a storm to not produce sound (thunder). You just either hear it, or not. This storm I described, was one of many that is in the location, from which the sound waves just don't reach me. Despite the fact I was only around 4-5km from the storm. There is terrain configuration, sound dissipation, sometimes the wind can reduce the sound range of thunder, etc... Each storm has a visible and audible range. Of course the visible range being far greater. I usually also see strong flashes of light that can light up the ground, from storms that are up to 60-80km to the north in the mountains, like this year in July when there was an amazing flashing display from an MCS in South Austria. And one one occasion, I was photographing lightning around 80km to the SE. I am on a hill, and towards SE I see a flat terrain (more or less) as far as the eye can see (clear day visibility here is around 100-150km). And I heard deep low frequency thunder from that squall line, associated with positive discharges. Which is another thing to consider. The intensity of the discharge. More energy released (higher voltage and amperage), the louder the thunder, and vice-versa. Cold season lightning is usually weaker, so I would guess the thunder range is not really that far out, but situational by different "variables" I mentioned earlier. 

    You also said that you only saw flashes and no forks, which means that the lightning must've been more CC in nature than CG (if any at all). And with lightning higher up in the the cloud, it will produce brighter flashes to places further away, but of course no thunder will reach those places. I could go on with many examples when I can hear thunder (most of the time its low frequency rumble from positive discharges) from quite a distance, but little to no thunder from storms close to the north. And I dont really like the term "heat lightning", because that was originally used to describe the lightning far away, as a result of the heat building up during the day (and being unrelated to storms), which is nonsense. Posted Image But nonetheless, @TheToastPeople gave a correct description of this "phenomenon" if you wish to call it that way. Posted Image

     

    So to sum it up: To see lightning (even bright flashes) and hear no thunder is not uncommon or strange at all. There are many variables that affect the distance that sound waves travel. And sometimes bright flashes from far away can give you the wrong idea of the "spacial placement" of its source. Posted Image So use weather radars and lightning locators, which will quickly and accurately explain what is going on. 

     

    Best regards.

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Carfin, Strathclyde. 116M
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, Ice, Wind and Extreme weather
  • Location: Carfin, Strathclyde. 116M

    I think it was the same night as you mentioned, where I lived outside of Carfin, I heard rumbles of thunder, but couldn't see any lighting. It did last a good few minutes, far longer than pervious events  ?.

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    Posted
  • Location: Blackwood SE Wales
  • Location: Blackwood SE Wales

    Living in the South East valleys, it is very common for me to see lightning flashes and not hear/only faintly hear thunder. If the lightning strikes on my side of the valley.. I hear it.. if it doesnt, I don't!  

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