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Find out how thunderstorms create deadly lightning

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Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 12:29 PM -

Any thunderstorm is capable of producing lightning that could be deadly.

This week, Science Behind the Weather takes a look at how even the most powerful lightning is formed. It all has to do with the separation of positive and negative charges that surround us all the time.

The creation of lightning begins within a cloud, in a temperature range of -10 to -20 degrees Celsius. Snow has a positive charge, while hail has a negative one. When an updraft occurs in a thunderstorm, it pushes straight through the thunderstorm cloud, pushing the snowflakes up to the top. The hail and its negative charge might be static, or even slightly sinking.

As the hail becomes bigger, it can induce positive charges at the surface. If those charges become big enough and separate far enough, a bright light will strike through the sky. Just like that, we have lightning.

Take a look at some of this month’s wildest lightning strikes caught on camera.

Lightning strikes on highway 63 in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Photo by Steve Pushman

Photo by Steve Pushman

Lightning strikes over Okanagan Mountain in British Columbia.

Photo by Andrew Stark

Photo by Andrew Stark

Lightning zaps through a pink and purple sky in Halkirk, Alberta.

Photo by Alison Williams

Photo by Alison Williams

A bright bolt spotted over Scarborough, Ontario.

Photo by Murray Leonard

Photo by Murray Leonard

A lightning strike captured from a balcony on 8th Street SW in Calgary, Alberta. The Nexen building is in the foreground.

Photo by Shane Gautron

Photo by Shane Gautron

Lightning bolts down opposite a field in Morden, Manitoba.

Photo by Wanda Stoesz

Photo by Wanda Stoesz

Post-thunderstorm lightning captured in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Photo by Tammy Bellin

Photo by Tammy Bellin

Police report lightning injures golfers in southern Ontario
Severe thunderstorm threat in southern Ontario Tuesday
Thunderstorm risk pushes into southern Ontario Monday, flood watch continues in the north
Scientists use lightning to charge cell phone

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