I've been in Ukraine (Kiev) in the winter, and this winter was snowy and rainy but still I've never seen or heard neither lightning nor thunders there. What is the explanation for that?

I thought about two possibilities:

  1. There are both, and I simply didn't see and listened. (It's strange I had there windows and the sky was in front of me)

  2. Indeed there are neither lightning nor thunder in this place. Then I would ask if there are another places like that.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Rain and snow without thunder and lighting is perfectly normal in many parts of the world. You don't need large contrasts in weather to produce rain or snow. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 18:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ To get lightning, you need convective clouds (cumulonimbus) with strong vertical air currents. You can (and are probably more likely to, especially in winter) get rain & snow from clouds without much vertical movement, such as nimbostratus. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


Although most thunderstorms produce rain, most rain does not have associated lightning, so one should expect that there are places with rain and snow but little lightning and thunder.

From an eyeball comparison of worldwide lightning strikes and precipitation maps, it looks like coastal Alaska and northern British Columbia, southern Chile and most of the Southern Ocean between 45°S and 60°S (e.g. the Kerguelen Islands) are the places with the most lightning-free precipitation, with coastal northwest Europe not far behind. Pretty much any place in on a west coast at latitudes between 45° and 60° North or South will have lots of precipitation but little lightning. The prevailing westerlies off the ocean bring frequent precipitation, but the surface rarely gets hot enough to generate classic thunderstorms.

The Arctic and Antarctic have even less lightning but also little precipitation. Polar lightning strikes have recently been increasing, however, probably due to increased temperatures from the polar amplification of global warming.


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