Spring and summer months bring numerous thunderstorms across the United States and of course these thunderstorms bring plenty of lightning.
Many times while under perfectly clear skies and especially at night, bright flashes can be seen in the distance and these flashes are sometimes referred to as “heat lightning”. Nicknamed this because this phenomenon is often observed during the heat of the summer. The origin of these distance flashes is actually lightning from distant thunderstorms.
The flashes are too far away for someone to see the actual lightning strike or hear the thunder. Trees, hills, mountains and the curvature of the earth prevent the observer from seeing the lightning strike but faint flashes can be seen reflected off the higher level clouds in the distance.
These storms are also too distant to hear a clap of thunder as the sound of thunder can only travel about 10 miles from a lightning strike.