Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureMythology & Folklore · 9 years ago

# Is the "Count the seconds of lightning" myth true?

This myth is that if you count the seconds between lightning strikes, that amount determines how much miles it is away from you...is this true?

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• 9 years ago
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It's not a myth if it's science.

Sound travels at a known rate. Since sound made at a distance can be measured by time it takes to reach you, yes, it is able to be determined ROUGHLY by counting the seconds. Every five seconds equals one mile.

You can check the 'how stuff works' site or the 'wikihow' site for a more detailed explanation.

• 9 years ago

Thunder is the sound of rapidly heated air expanding and vibrating, and shock waves. Light travels faster than sound, so we see the lightning before we hear the resulting thunder. Using the speeds of light and sound as well as the atmospheric conditions, you could calculate exactly how far away the storm is.

Chances are you're not going to have a calculator handy during a storm. However you can approximate the storm's distance in miles by counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder and dividing by five. It takes about five seconds for the sonic boom to travel one mile, so if you see the sky illuminated by a streak of lightning and count 10 seconds until you hear the low rumble of the thunder, the storm is about two miles away.

So, not really, unless you use very long mississippi seconds!

• 9 years ago

I was taught that for every five seconds between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder the storm is one mile out. I have observed many, many storms, and I believe it to be true.

• 9 years ago

you count the seconds between the sound of thunder and the flash of lighting which would give you the distance in miles away from you the storm is...

or so ive heard

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