How Big Is a Lightning Bolt?

The bright flashes of lightning you see streaking across the sky are usually about 300 feet long, but some very powerful bolts may be over five miles long.

And lightning bolts can streak to the ground from eight miles in the air, or leap between two clouds 20 miles apart.

A lightning bolt may look more than a few feet wide, but what you see when you look at a lightning bolt isn’t the bolt itself, but the glowing air along its path. A lightning bolt is usally just a quarter-inch or so in width!

Household appliances, which run on 115 volts of electricity, can kill or badly shock a person, but lightning bolts may contain over 100 million volts!