Here’s What a Dangerously Close Lightning Strike Sounds Like

No, that is not the blaring sound of artillery or the wrath of an angry god spewing hellfire and brimstone. It’s the sound of a lightning strike, captured by San Antonio resident Chris Alderete during torrential rainstorms on Monday.

As a violent storm bore down on the city, Alderete decided to capture the scene. What he thought was going to be some footage of rain and extreme flash floods quickly turned into a mesmerizing flash as lightning struck his neighbor’s house.

You probably weren’t familiar with how lightning sounds, and as the video indicates, it’s basically just like a flurry of gunfire. As Angela Fritz, atmospheric scientist and deputy weather editor at The Washington Postexplains, the lightning sounds like a Civil War cannon for a number of reasons.

“The sound is the air being heated to 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The air around the lightning bolt expands faster than the speed of sound, which creates a shock wave of thunder. When you’re this close to the bolt, though, it sounds more like a bullet from a gun,” she writes.

Alderete’s brush with the violent bolt was loud, but he was ultimately spared from the lightning because he was filming the event from inside his house. But luckily for our bemusement, the internet has captured other people’s less fortunate experiences with lightning, such as the car that fell victim to a cruel game of Mario Kart when it got zapped while cruising through an intersection. There’s always the pleasant possibility of flying directly into the heart of a lightning storm, which kind of resembles soaring headfirst into the apocalypse.

Nature is gnarly, man.

[Mashable via Washington Post]

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.