Does Lightning Travel Up? Or Down?

Tools

By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - It travels in both directions, really. In a cloud-to-ground strike, an electric charge from the cloud starts coming down, and gets about 2/3 the way toward the ground.

At that point, a return stroke of opposite charge will race up from the ground and meet the original charge, creating a channel where the electricity can flow back and forth several times until the charges have been neutralized.

So the short answer is that the lightning collides in mid-air between the cloud and ground. However, you can have cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-air lightning too, so it can really travel in any direction.

Your Photos

YouNews Monday Morning Sunrise Monday Morning Sunrise
These images of the sunrise with Mt. Rainier were taken around 8am Monday November 24th. The pictures were taken with a Nikon D3000 DSLR with a 50-200mm telephoto lens.
YouNews Is it really Nov.? Is it really Nov.?
Isn't Nov. supposed to be our nastiest weather month? Seems OK to me...