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SE Regional Climate Center
2221 Devine St., Suite 222
Columbia, SC 29205
Toll Free:
1-866-845-1553
Phone:
803-734-9560
          
803-734-9559
Fax:
803-734-9573
sercc@dnr.state.sc.us

 

 

How Clouds Create Lightning

 

                         -    -   -   -   -    -   -   -   -   -   -                                                     - - -
        Strong negative charges          - -
           build under clouds           -
                                       -
                                       --
                                        -    Negatively charged particles, 
                                         -  called the stepped leader, move 
                                         -        toward the ground
                                         -                    
                                        - 
     When the stepped leader gets       +   
  close to the ground, a positively     + 
  charged stream travels up to meet     +
    the negative creating a strong      +    
    electrical current - lightning!    +
                                       + 
                                       + 
                                        +  Strong positive charge builds up
                                        +     on the ground below the cloud.
                                         + It stays under the cloud as it moves.
                                         +  
                           +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +  

 

 

sercc@dnr.state.sc.us