How Fast Does Lightning Travel?

Lightning travels at around 220,000 miles per hour when traveling downwards from a cloud, and then reaches a speed of 220,000,000 miles per hour when moving skyward on its return stroke. A flash of lightning is just 1 to 2 inches wide, but it generates a massive amount of electricity that is equal to 300 million volts, or 30,000 amps.

Lightning is extremely deadly and can kill a person on impact. To reduce the chances of being struck by lightning, it is important to avoid handling any metal objects or electronics during a thunderstorm, or while lightning is present in the distance. Certain signs such as a strange burning smell in the air or an abnormal spike of static electricity on portable electronic devices may mean that a lighting strike is imminent.