Is it normal to never have lightning with a storm like Florence?

Dear Tom,

While watching the Florence pummel the Carolinas I noticed there was never any lighting with this storm. Is this normal for a hurricane?

Chuck S.
Arlington Heights

Dear Chuck,

While there was not excessive lightning with Florence, there were periods when thunderstorms were prevalent in the western eye wall. It is widely, but incorrectly believed that hurricanes bring raging thunderstorms. They don’t.

The processes that generate lightning are related to an abundance of ice crystals in the clouds that aid in the separation of positive and negative charges that ultimately yield lightning strokes. Hurricanes are “warm-core” tropical systems and the air is mild to great heights which yields relatively little ice and consequently minimal lightning. As hurricanes weaken and transition to cooler mid-latitude non-tropical storms, lightning production often increases.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.