Science

How much electricity is in a lightning bolt?


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An average bolt of lightning, striking from cloud to ground, contains roughly one billion (1,000,000,000) joules of energy. This is no small amount, enough to power a 60-watt lightbulb for six months plus a forgotten open door refrigerator for a day.

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There are many varying answers about the electricity in the average bolt of lightning. The typical answer is that the average is about 1 billion volts at 20-30,000 amps. However, for any individual strike, specific conditions can cause incredibly wide fluctuations.

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