Why do we get thunder & lightning in winter ?


Although it doesn’t always snow during these events, winter thunderstorms are usually referred to as Thundersnow, winter thunderstorm or thunder snowstorm.

Instead of rain during the storm snow or hail falls and they don’t form any differently to other type of thunderstorms, apart from the top of the cumulonimbus cloud that forms the storm is usually lower than usual.

READ MORE: Amazing winter thunderstorm batters Wirral

Thunderstorms develop when the atmosphere is unstable, when warm air exists underneath much colder air. 

As hail moves within the cloud it picks up a negative charge by rubbing against smaller positively charged ice crystals.

READ MORE: 7 tips to help you through a winter pregnancy 

The negative charge is attracted to the Earth’s surface and other clouds and objects and when the attraction becomes too strong, the positive and negative charges come together, or discharge, to balance the difference in a flash of lightning (sometimes known as a lightning strike or lightning bolt).

 The rapid expansion and heating of air caused by lightning produces the accompanying loud clap of thunder.

Thunder and lightning in winter like this morning is quite rare according to the Met Office.

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