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Higher frequencies attenuate faster in air than lower frequencies. The further away a lightning flash the less high frequency components will reach your ear


1

Instead of a short lighten stroke, the stroke traveled through several clouds for several miles, unseen by you. This is how you might get a long rolling thunder. There could also be several unseen strokes which the thunder overlaps to sound as one.


4

Why is it never just a straight line? I think it can be interesting to answer both questions and add a few interesting details to the answer already given. Electrons move in a straight line only in vacuum, where they meet no obstacles. What happens here is the same that happens with a river: the water of a waterfall goes in a straight line because it ...


7

The lightning is just electricity, a huge burst of electrons that try to find the path of least resistance through the molecules of the atmosphere to the ground. The electrons come from many different places in the clouds and the atmosphere is not homogeneous: there are differences in humidity, temperature, density, particle count, velocity, etc., and this ...


1

I can't tell what exactly you may have heard, but sounds reflect off of all kinds of things, particularly flat walls, so echos from a loud sound like thunder is quite plausible. 5 seconds is about 1 mile of total propagation, so that again is plausible. Lightning is a large current that ionizes the air in its immediate vicinity. Such ionized air is ...



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