Watch Manchester get hit by ‘crazy’ silent lightning storm last night

It was pretty eerie, especially if you've never seen it before — but there is an explanation.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 11th September 2023

Countless people across the UK gathered in their back gardens and at their living room windows last night to watch as Manchester and various other areas across the country were hit with a somewhat surreal ‘silent lightning’ storm after a week or so of sun and muggy heat.

Captured on camera by countless Mancs — ourselves included — we were all hoping to record the perfect moment the lightning strike was followed by the ever-satisfying thunderclap, but it wasn’t to be as each bolt that appeared in the illuminated skies remained completely silent.

Strange but very cool.

Here’s how it looked as the fascinating meteorological phenomenon backlit the moody-looking clouds around Deansgate, Castlefield and various other parts of Greater Manchester.

So cool.
The reactions online ranged from ‘crazy’ and ‘creepy’ to ‘biblical’.

Understandably, many were left scratching their heads at the confusing scenes as we all know first comes the lightning, then comes the thunder. Nevertheless, it was not the case on Sunday night (10 September) and after a quick Google search, we soon found out why.


Lightning without thunder is a unique weather event often called ‘heat lightning‘, as it occurs more frequently during the summer, but it isn’t actually silent, as such.

It isn’t actually caused by the heat itself as the name would suggest; heat lightning is essentially referred to as such because the storm itself is actually much further away but since light travels much faster than sound, people can still see the effect of the lightning bolts.


The flashes themselves are created by lightning bolts from thunderstorms that are roughly ten miles or more away and since the sky is often much clearer on hot summer nights, you can still see the so-called ‘silent lightning’ without hearing the usual thunder — lucky for all our lovely pets.

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Pretty interesting, right?

The silent storm came after what felt like an eternity of humid days, sweaty sleeps and wearing next to nothing whenever possible as we tried to stay cool in a rather uncomfortable heatwave that decided to arrive towards the back end of an otherwise disappointing summer.


It just wouldn’t be Britain without waiting for the sun to arrive and then moaning the second it gets too hot.

The heat lightning isn’t the only unusual bit of weather we’ve had recently, either, as last week people were surprised to see their cars suddenly covered in dirt for some reason.

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Featured Image — The Manc Group/mcrjh.pix (via Instagram)