Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the sky. There is also a lot of different types of lightning depending on where or how they strike. Here are a few of the common types of lightning you can use to identify next time we have a storm:
Cloud to Ground (CG): This is the most dangerous type of lightning. This is when a negative charge zigzags down from a cloud and reaches a positive charge that is reaching up. It is a lightning strike that travels from the cloud to the ground.
Intra-Cloud (IC): This is the most common type of lightning. Sometimes this is called sheet lightning. This is lightning that happens within the same cloud. What happens is that the lightning is jumping between different charged regions within the same cloud.
Inter-Cloud or Cloud to Cloud (CC): This is less common, but it is when a strike happens between two different clouds.
Cloud to Air (CA): This is when lightning strikes the air outside of the cloud, but the strike does not reach the ground.
Many use the term “heat lightning” but this actually does not exist. This is just lightning that is happening in a thunderstorm that is too far away to hear the thunder.