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Weather Library > Lightning Myths: 'Heat Lightning' is something caused by hot weather.

MYTH: 'Heat Lightning' is a strange phenomenon caused by hot weather.

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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TRUTH: 'Heat lightning' is simply distant, ordinary lightning, too far away for thunder to be audible to the observer. 'Heat lightning' is not another type of lightning - it is an unofficial name given to visible flashes of light from ordinary lightning in thunderstorms a great distance away, usually well below the horizon.

Heat lightning is so named because it is often seen on hot summer nights, a time of year when thunderstorms are common. These flashes are often an early warning sign that storms are approaching, because the lightning you see may be moving your way.

25 Years of Storm Chasing
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