Truth Test | Can you count the seconds between lightning and thunder to determine distance?

WICHITA, Kansas – We’ve all heard it before, counting the seconds between lightning and thunder determines a storm’s distance from your location.

One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four. So the storm is four miles away, or is it really?

“True or false: you can count between the lightning flash and thunder clap to determine how far the storm is… true? Ok if I count to 10 how far is it? I’d say it would be about 10 miles,” said Lana Montgomery.

She’s not alone. Many people think that each second between the thunder clap and lightning is one exactly mile, but in reality, this not the case.

There’s a little bit of math that needs to come into play in order to get an accurate estimate.

Lightning Thunder Count.mov_frame_749It takes roughly five seconds for the sound of super heated air or thunder to travel one mile, so if you see a flash of lightning and count 10 seconds until you hear the thunder, you need to divide by five to determine this storm is roughly two miles away.

So can you count the seconds between lightning and thunder to determine the storms distance?

Although this is some truth to the myth, it’s not what most of you have heard.

It is also very important to note that you should not rely on this method when it comes to your safety.

If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. As a general rule, when thunder roars go indoors.

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