can you have thunder without lightning

Can you have thunder without lightning? No, it is impossible to have one without the other. Thunder is the noise created by lightning.

People amid a thunderstorm will experience the jaw-dropping intensity of thunder and lightning.

Thunder will overwhelm the senses with a series of rumbling pops and bangs.

Bright flashes of lightning will lighten the darkest of rooms. People will experience lightning as a series of blinding arcs of light.

Sometimes, people will see lightning and not hear thunder. Others will hear thunder and not see the lightning. 

In these cases, is there thunder without lightning? Absolutely not. Thunder is caused by lightning, and you will never have one without the other.

You cannot have thunder without lightning, and lightning causes thunder, so it is impossible to have one without the other.

What is Lightning?

what is a lightning

Lightning is caused when an electrical current forms in a cloud. It might be hard to imagine white fluffy clouds filled with electricity, but that happens when a thunderstorm is brewing.

Hot air from the ground rises and makes the cloud expand.

The air on top of the clouds is below freezing, and when this air mixes with the hot air, water vapor turns to ice.

These small bits of ice move around the cloud and create an electrical charge that begins a lightning bolt.

The top part of the cloud will be filled with lighter positively-charged particles, while the heavier negatively-charged particles will fall to the bottom of the cloud.

When the charges grow large enough, there will be lightning between them, called in-cloud lightning.

Note: Lightning is caused when electrical current forms in a cloud.

Why Does Lightning Look Like It’s Dropping From the Sky?

what does lightning look like?

Gasps can be heard when a lightning bolt seemingly strikes a house or a building, and its destructive power is indisputable.

Fear of a devastating fire or electrocution is typical for those experiencing a violent thunderstorm.

When a buildup of positive charges happens on the ground beneath the cloud, it will be attracted the negatively charged particles at the bottom of the cloud.

These two charges will attract each other, creating ground-to-cloud lightning.

Higher items are more at risk of getting hit with lightning.

 Things like trees, air-traffic control towers, and office buildings are often targets for lightning strikes.

Different Types of Lightning

types of lightning

You may find it interesting to know that there are several different types of lightning.

Most people believe that lightning is a flash of light accompanied by a wild roar of thunder, but lightning can be categorized based on its characteristics.

Ground to Cloud Lightning Strikes

This is when negatively charged particles at the bottom of the cloud are attracted to positively charged particles on the ground.

There will be a lightning strike between them. Surprisingly, this is the rarest type of lightning, making up 20%of lightning strikes.

In-Cloud Lightning

The in-cloud lightning is the most frequent lightning making up 80% of all lightning strikes.

It is the lightning that people rarely see because it jumps from cloud to cloud.

You may see the light and hear the thunder, but you will not see the lightning bolt.

Note: The two types of lightning are in-cloud and ground-to-cloud lightning.

Lightning Alerts

a lightning alerts

Lightning is a strong indicator of a storm or severe weather. The National Lightning Detection Network monitors lightning, and they watch both cloud-to-ground and in-cloud lightning.

This network watches for the occurrence of lightning.

Alerts are given to the public, and they watch closely for things like bolts from the blue and side flashes.

Bolt From the Blue

This saying is often used to describe something unexpected happening. It is also used to describe specific lightning strikes.

These strikes extend so far away from the storm cell that the area might not be experiencing any storm conditions.

These strikes are usually a complete surprise. Bolts from the blue are so far away that you can’t hear the thunder.

Side Flashes

Side flashes can be pretty dangerous. When lightning strikes an object near a victim, the current can jump to the victim.

Note: The Total Lightning Detection Network studies lightning occurrences and provides alerts when necessary.

Can You Have Thunder Without Lightning?

thunder without lightning

The internal temperature of a lightning strike can reach up to 25 000⁰C.

The surrounding air is heated, and it expands faster than the speed of sound, which causes a massive sonic boom.

Approximately 10m away from the lightning, this becomes an ordinary sound wave that we hear as thunder.

Thunder is the air that is exploding air. Thunder sounds like a loud pop or bang when close to the lightning. 

A kilometer away from the thunder, it will sound like a loud rumbling with claps at the end.

Thunder further into the distance will sound like a low rumble. Usually, thunder cannot be heard beyond 16km.

Since thunder is created by lightning, it is impossible to have thunder without lightning.


a thunderstorm

The heated air around lightning causes thunder so you will find lightning in every thunderstorm.

There are four types of thunderstorms.


These storms often happen quickly, and they frequently occur in the spring and summer.

Heavy rain and hail are usually associated with this type of storm. Although these storms may be severe, they often bring relief to hot, humid weather.


When several single-cell storms combine, it is referred to as a multi-cell storm. These storms also have wind, hail, and heavy rain.

The combination of storms can cause a significant amount of rain in a very short amount of time, and this phenomenon can cause flash flooding.

Squall line

a squall line

Squall line storms are intense thunderstorms than can cover hundreds of miles.

These storms are characterized by rain, hail, lightning, strong winds, and tornadoes.

Squall line thunderstorms have strong winds that can often cause structural damage.


The supercell is the most intense of all the thunderstorms, and it can last for hours. It has heavy rain, lightning, high winds, flash flooding, and hail.

This type of storm has a rotating updraft that becomes organized and develops into a tornado.

Note: The four types of thunderstorms are single-cell, multi-cell, squall line, and supercell.

Safety Tips for Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms can be frightening. The roar of thunder and the bright flash of lightning can overwhelm many people.

Understanding some essential safety tips might save your life one day.


in indoors

It would be best to avoid contact with water. It could be dangerous to bathe, shower, or wash dishes because the lightning can travel through some plumbing pipes.

It is wise to avoid all electronic equipment, including your corded telephone. Lightning can travel through electrical systems.

It is natural to want to watch the flashes of lightning, but it is dangerous to stand in front of windows, skylights, and doors.


As soon as you hear thunder, you should find shelter. If you can’t find shelter, tuck yourself into a small position.

Avoid any elevated areas. If you are near water, make sure you head for shore immediately.

It is best to get off any bicycles, scooters, or motorcycles, and you should exit any vehicle.

Look out for any downed power lines or utility lines.

So, What’s the Answer?

Many people wonder: can you have thunder without lightning? Perhaps it’s because sometimes they can hear thunder, but they can’t see any lightning.

Even though you can’t see it, the lightning is there.

Thunder is caused by lightning, so you cannot have one without the other. Lightning and thunder will both be found in thunderstorms.

The roar of thunder and the electric blaze of a lightning bolt can be intimidating.

Lightning bolts are the hottest things on earth and carry massive energy.

Thunderstorms are nature’s way of letting us know that we should be in awe of the power she can unleash.