Lightning Colors and Rainfall

Most of the time when we see lightning, it's white. But sometimes it's seen in different colors. Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick tells you what colors and why.

My last blog talked about some facts and safety tips on lightning.  That got some of you wanting to know more about this beautiful but yet deadly display of Mother Nature. 


Jennifer beck in Ironton asks:  “Josh, I saw some lightning last night and I noticed the color of it was blue.  Why was that and are there other colors lightning can be?”



Great question, Jennifer!  Lightning comes in every color of the rainbow, red, yellow, green, blue, and violet, to name a few. It’s almost always white, but often it's tinged with another color around the edges. The three most common colors aside from white are electric blue, like Jennifer saw, electric yellow, and voltage violet.  I think there's a theme here don't you?   The color of the bolt depends on how hot it is.  The hotter the lightning, the closer the color will be to the end of the spectrum, red the coolest and violet the hottest.  By the way, lightning is about 54,000 degrees, making it roughly five times hotter than the surface of the sun. 


Another question comes in from John in Ripley, WV and he asks: “How many gallons of water does one inch of rain equal out to be?”  Well john that all depends on how large of an area you're talking about.  When we say an inch of rain has fallen it doesn't really sound like a lot so let me put it into perspective.  One inch of rain over one acre is equal more than 27,000 gallons of water!  So think about that the next time you have a gutter gushing downpour.


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