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Lightning during a thunderstorm
A lightning bolt strikes a tree. A creeper can be seen hopping about in the woods. If it had been closer to the strike it would have become charged.

A thunderstorm is a fairly uncommon weather condition which takes place randomly during rain or snowfall.


  • Light level falls to 10 during daytime, and hostile mobs are allowed to spawn as if the light level were 5. Like rain, thunderstorms won't reduce the light level below 4 at night.
  • The Sun, Moon and stars become obscured.
  • The player can sleep in a bed during a thunderstorm, regardless of the time of day.
  • Blazes, endermen, and snow golems are harmed by the rain.


Lightning is a lethal element to the storm. It strikes randomly across the world, creating brief fires. While most are immediately put out by the rain, it is possible for it to ignite wood and other flammable blocks.

  • Lightning creates fire where it strikes. While the accompanying rain usually puts out the fires before they spread, overhangs that block rain can allow fire spread. Netherrack lit by lightning will not be extinguished by rain.
  • Thunder can be heard by the player up to 160,000 blocks away from where the lightning strikes.
  • If lightning manages to strike a Nether portal frame, it will activate the portal.
  • If lightning strikes TNT, it will detonate.
  • Entities struck by lightning or standing near a lightning strike are dealt 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) damage (except pigs and villagers), not including damage from the fire.
    • Blocks (such as redstone, torches, and snow cover) are not directly affected by lightning.
    • If lightning strikes and kills the player, most of the items in the inventory will be lost.[Verify]
    • If lightning strikes a boat, it will break the boat and usually destroy the drop.
    • If lightning strikes a minecart, it will break it and usually destroy the drop.
    • If lightning strikes a painting or an item frame, it will cause it to fall off of the wall.
    • If lightning strikes a pig, it turns into a zombie pigman.[1]
    • If lightning strikes a creeper, it becomes charged.[2]
    • If lightning strikes a villager, it turns into a witch.


Issues relating to "Lightning" or "Thunder" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.


  • Lightning strikes do not destroy blocks.
  • Lightning only strikes blocks being rained on, and thus will not strike in dry or snowy biomes.
  • Lightning can go through transparent blocks to hit the ground.
  • As long as the player is within earshot (with a very long range), thunder will be heard at the same time as it strikes.
  • Thunder can be heard all the way down to the bedrock layer, even in the Void. Like ambience, thunder is not an indicator of anything but areas that were struck by lightning.
  • If the player is killed by a lightning strike, the death message will read [player] was struck by lightning.
  • Lightning, unlike other weather, does not have an image file associated with it. Thus, it is coded directly into the game engine, allowing for dynamic, realistic lightning.
  • Forest fires made by lightning are rare unless the lightning strikes underneath a tree, where the rain would not be able to extinguish the fire.
  • The area-effect of lightning appears to be calculated from the corner of the block it hit, as if it hit exactly between four blocks. The effect goes out three blocks in all directions from this point, including diagonally, covering a 6×6 block area. Three blocks below this area and nine blocks above are within the effect, and entities such as paintings and item frames will either be destroyed or knocked down, which will destroy any items within an item frame, even if the frame itself is only knocked down.
  • If lightning strikes between you and your line of vision to a lit End portal, the portal becomes invisible during the strike.
  • If multiple lightning bolts strike a single villager at the same time, the number of witches spawned as a result is equal to the number of lightning bolts, making it possible, but ridiculously unlikely, to get multiple witches from one villager. This will not work with pig-to-pigman or creeper-to-charged transformations.[citation needed]
  • Lightning can be summoned with /summon LightningBolt. While it's an entity, it can't be referred to by commands or selectors.