A few months ago, I witnessed something off the coast of Florida that I have never seen in my life. From my apartment, from about 10PM - 12AM, I saw pretty much continuous cloud to cloud lightning. I don't really remember how many strikes a second it was, or if it was once every couple seconds, but there was never a time when there was not one or more lightning strikes in the air. I had a video but unfortunately the file is corrupted.

Is there any name of this phenomena, and how common is it?

  • $\begingroup$ this might sound strange but did you hear the sound of the thunder or was this visual only,the reason i ask is the lightening close to the horizon have its own name when it is visual only(no sound)where i live. $\endgroup$ – trond hansen Jan 21 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ @trondhansen I did not hear any sound; I live about 4 miles from the beach, and the lightning seemed to be well offshore. $\endgroup$ – Ovi Jan 21 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ Anecdote: summer thunderstorms in Australia are common. Just yesterday there was a storm about 20 km north of where I live. You could see a flash on average about once every two seconds. Rarely, you could see the actual lightning. Didn’t hear a thing. The thing lasted for over one hour. Spectacular! $\endgroup$ – Gimelist Jan 22 at 22:38

In Norwegian we call it kornmo (grain ripener); it happens in the late summer at a distance of more than 20 km so there is no sound.

The English translation is: "sheet lightning - heat lightning - summer lightning". I am not sure if this covers the meaning we have for it in Norwegian; it is said that Thor, the god of thunder, swung his hammer over the fields to get the grain ready for harvest.

This type of lightning is at more than 20km from the viewer and often 10-20 times this distance from you. It is really beautiful to see it.

This type of lightning happens high up in the atmosphere so one needs good viewing conditions to be able to see it. I do not think it is rare in itself; what is rare is the the atmospheric conditions that allow us to see it.

I guess this does not answer your question fully so I hope others post their answers too.

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    $\begingroup$ here is a video of this type of lightening youtube.com/watch?v=MgtGhl8EEqs $\endgroup$ – trond hansen Jan 21 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ As far as I'm aware, in the US, "heat lightning" only refers to lightning seen at long enough distances at night to obscure the individual strokes and the sound of the thunder, but not anything to do with the frequency of lightning flashes. I've heard "sheet lightning" referred to situations where the actual stroke is obscured during the day or night, but again regardless of frequency. I've seen research in frequent lightning producers (particularly supercellular/potentially tornadic storms) but I can't immediately come up with a name that specifically refers to high frequency lightning. $\endgroup$ – dplmmr Jan 21 at 18:55

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