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Fast as Lightning

The fastest flashes move at 140,000km per second (87,000 miles per seconds) – fast enough to go three times round the Equator in one second, but of course lightning does not travel that far. The longest flashes of lightning are about 30km (19 miles) form cloud to ground.

If you want to know how far away a thunderstorm is, see how many times you count slowly up to five between the flash and rumble. Every group of the five equals a mile. Count in groups of three to get kilometers.

If you don’t like thunderstorms don’t go near the Tropics. There are over 3,000 thunderstorms somewhere in the Tropics, or nearby, every night. Bogor in Java has thunder on up to 320 nights every year.

Interesting Facts:

- The heaviest snowstorm fell on Mount Shasta in California. For six days it never stopped snowing and at the end, the snow was nearly 5m (16ft) deep.

- In Britain the Thames used to freeze and people held fairs on the ice. The last was held in 1814.

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