Lightning


Electrical storms are quite rare in Whitby but they are very dramatic to watch when they are out at sea. You can follow a storm with our StrikeStar Thunderstorm Tracker by clicking on the banner below:

Lightning
Cloud-to-ground lightning is the most spectacular form of lightning. It is the lightning bolt we see reaching from the sky to the ground forming a bright, usually forked bolt of light. It usually occurs from the base of a negatively charged cloud to the positively charged ground below (-CG). Sometimes there is a rarer form that happens from the positive charge in the top of the cloud to a negative charge on the ground (+CG) and this is known as a positive flash.
Only about 20 percent of all lightning reaches the ground. Almost all ground flashes are negative, but the most powerful and most dangerous are the positive ground flashes which occur in the decaying phases of large thunderstorms and in the very active stages of severe storms.


Positive ground strike

The most common type of lightning is positive intracloud .lightning (+IC) which strikes between positive and negative areas in the same cloud. The bolt is not usually visible, but rather appears like a broad flash in the sky. Negative intracloud lightning (-IC) occurs in the most active stages of severe storms.


Intracloud lightning

Lightning strikes that bridge two thunderstorms are called intercloud flashes. These rare strikes occur between oppositely charged areas of separate clouds and provide a stunning bolt of light.


Intercloud strike