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Last evening I assisted in an interesting phenomenon in my region (Eastern Europe). It was a dark sky with heavy rain and blinding lightning (which struck every 5 seconds or so), but NO thunder at all. I was thinking that the explanation might be:

  1. The clouds are very high in the sky and and the sound does not reach the land
  2. The wind deviated the sound somewhere else.
  3. It was not a storm and aliens were conducting an experiment in the atmosphere

I'm not a meteorologist, so if you have a better explanation, please let me know it.

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"No, it is not possible to have thunder without lightning. Thunder is a direct result of lightning. However, it IS possible that you might see lightning and not hear the thunder because it was too far away. Sometimes this is called “heat lightning” because it occurs most often in the summer. "

here is more information regarding lightning: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/lightning/faq/

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