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Lightning during a thunderstorm.
A lightning bolt strikes a tree, making it potentially flammable. A creeper can be seen walking through the woods; if it had been closer to the strike, it would have become charged.

Thunderstorms are a somewhat common and dangerous weather condition.


Thunderstorms are a semi-common temporary, global occurrence[1] that can happen randomly at any time, within the Overworld. The exact type of precipitation during a thunderstorm varies depending on the temperature of the current biome, as well as the current altitude.

Thunderstorms may occur randomly, as rain or snow storms worsen. The average storm lasts 0.5–1 Minecraft day, and there is a 0.5–7.5 day delay between thunderstorms. They can be skipped entirely with the use of a bed, regardless of the time of day. Sleeping in a bed also resets the in-game thunderstorm timer, making a thunderstorm right after sleeping unlikely. This means the best way to wait for a thunderstorm would be to go without sleeping for several days, as sleeping every Minecraft day would minimize the chance of a thunderstorm occurring.


As with rain and snow, the sky is darkened and the sun, moon, and stars are no longer visible. Thunderstorms darken the world, causing light from the sky to decrease to a level of 10 in full daylight (however, brightness is closer to a level 11.5 and is tinted blue). The clouds darken from white to dark gray, although clouds themselves do not precipitate or create lightning. While the sun is not visible during rain, the glow associated with sunrise and sunset is still visible.

Unlike during regular rainstorms or snowstorms, the light level from the sky is treated as if it were 5 for the purposes of hostile mob spawning, which allows hostile mobs to spawn at any time of the day.


Not to be confused with Lighting.

Lightning Bolt

Lightning is a lethal element to thunderstorms. Lightning momentarily increases the sky light's brightness to slightly greater than full daylight.

The fire that a lightning bolt creates.

Lightning strikes randomly and creates fires where it strikes. Such fires act normally, igniting all flammable materials, detonating TNT, and even activating nether portals. The lightning itself, however, is not destructive and does not destroy blocks. While most fires are extinguished by the rain, areas that block rain can allow the fire to spread, and any netherrack, soul sand, or soul soil lit by lightning is not extinguished by the rain.

Most entities struck by lightning are dealt 5♥♥♥ damage (sometimes twice in succession) and are set on fire, which may cause additional damage.

If the player is killed by a lightning strike, the death message appears: "<player> was struck by lightning." This message does not display if the player was killed by the fire created by a lightning bolt.

Lightning may be manually summoned with the /summon lightning_bolt command. It is summoned as an entity, and it can be referred to by commands or selectors.

A group of skeletal horsemen spawned during a thunderstorm.
A villager gets struck by lightning.

Lightning is also spawned when a trident enchanted with Channeling is thrown and strikes a mob during a thunderstorm.

Effects on mobs[edit]

A lightning strike affects certain mobs differently:

  • Lightning may randomly spawn a "Skeleton Trap" Horse with a chance of 0.75–1.5% chance on Easy, 1.5–4% on Normal, and 2.8125–6.75% on Hard, depending on the regional difficulty. A player triggers the trap by moving within 10 blocks of the horse, whereupon the horse transforms into four skeletal horsemen. A non-triggered trap horse despawns after 15 minutes.
  • A pig struck by lightning turns into a zombified piglin.
  • A creeper becomes charged.
  • A villager gets replaced by a witch.
  • A red mooshroom changes into a brown mooshroom and vice versa.
  • If lightning kills a turtle, it drops 1 bowl instead of its normal drops.[2]
  • Regardless of current health, lightning always instantly kills turtles.‌[Bedrock Edition only]

Lightning mechanics[edit]

For each loaded chunk, every tick there is a 1100,000 chance of an attempted lightning strike during a thunderstorm.

When lightning is to strike, random X and Z coordinates within the chunk are chosen, and the block just above the highest block that is liquid or obstructs movement is chosen for the lightning strike. Then if there are any living entities that can see the sky in a 3×h×3 region from 3 below the target block up to the world height, one such entity is selected at random and the lightning target is moved to the block the entity is standing in.

The target block is checked again for the following conditions:

  • Target block can see the sky.
  • Rain (not snow) is falling in the target block.
    • Thus, lightning does not naturally strike within cold biomes or biomes where it does not rain (except in the Console Edition).

If these conditions pass, lightning strikes.

When lightning strikes, all entities within a 6×12×6 region horizontally centered on the northwest corner of the target block with the bottom edge 3 below the target block are struck by lightning. Multiple passes are made over this region, so items dropped during an earlier pass may be destroyed during a subsequent pass; damage immunity usually prevents struck mobs from taking more than 5♥♥♥ damage. Non-solid blocks (such as redstone, torches, and snow layers) are not directly affected by lightning.


"Thunder" redirects here. For the Minecraft Dungeons enchantment, see MCD:Thundering.

Thunder is a sound event that occurs every time lightning strikes. Every player within the 160 thousand blocks and the same dimension hears the thunder.

The ability to hear thunder affects multiplayer, as it is possible to hear lightning strike at someone else's base or use a modded Minecraft client to determine the direction of every strike in the world the player is in. Using the direction of strikes, it is possible to triangulate the coordinates of lightning strikes.


Note red.png
This page would benefit from the addition of more sounds.
Please remove this notice once you've added suitable sounds to the article. The specific instructions are: is there a specific sound event tied to skeleton traps? also should we include channelling here?
SoundSubtitleSourceDescriptionNamespaced IDTranslation keyVolumePitchAttenuation
Lightning strikes??entity.lightning_bolt.impactsubtitles.entity.lightning.impact??16
Thunder roars??entity.lightning_bolt.thundersubtitles.entity.lightning.thunder??infinite

Data values[edit]


Java Edition:

NameNamespaced IDTranslation key
Lightning Boltlightning_bolt entity.minecraft.lightning_bolt

Bedrock Edition:

NameNamespaced IDNumeric ID Translation key
Lightning Boltlightning_bolt

Entity data[edit]

See also: Chunk format

Lightning bolts have entity data associated with them that contain various properties.


Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Namespaced ID


Very Very Frightening
Strike a Villager with lightningA Throwaway JokeHit a villager with lightning created by a trident with the Channeling enchantment.adventure/very_very_frightening


Java Edition Beta
1.5Added thunderstorms and lightning.
The ability for lightning to charge creepers and transform pigs into Zombie Pigmen has been added.
Java Edition
1.3.1?Due to singleplayer becoming multiplayer, the sky during a thunderstorm now looks the same as if it would be only raining.[3]
1.7.2?The rendering brightness is now decreased during thunderstorms. Previously, the sky would darken, but the ground wouldn't appear to get darker, even though monsters could spawn.
13w39aThe clouds and the sky again appear much darker during thunderstorms.
1.814w03aLightning now transforms villagers into witches.
14w30aLightning can now be manually summoned with the /summon LightningBolt command.
14w32aLightning now damages Nether mobs and mobs with the Fire Resistance status effect.
1.915w38aThere is a now chance (depending on regional difficulty) that a lightning strike spawns a "skeleton trap" skeletal horse.
1.1116w32aThe entity ID has been changed from LightningBolt to lightning_bolt.
1.1318w07aIf a player throws a trident enchanted with Channeling at a mob, a lightning bolt is summoned and strikes that mob. This is the first and only way that a player can manually summon lightning without commands.
1.1419w08aIf lightning strikes near a red mooshroom, it turns into a brown mooshroom and vice versa.
1.16?Lightning bolts can now be targeted by selectors and save to the world.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.12.1build 1Added thunderstorms.
0.14.0build 1Lightning now transforms villagers into witches.
0.16.0build 1There is now a chance (depending on regional difficulty) for a lightning strike to spawn a "skeleton trap" skeletal horse.
Lightning can now be manually summoned with the /summon LightningBolt command.
Pocket Edition
1.1.0alpha entity ID has been changed from lightningBolt to lightning_bolt.
Bedrock Edition
1.4.0beta a player throws a trident enchanted with Channeling at a mob, a lightning bolt is summoned and strikes that mob.
1.13.0beta lightning strikes near a red mooshroom, it turns into a brown mooshroom and vice versa.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU1 1.00 Patch 1Added thunderstorms.


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


  • In Bedrock Edition, if the player leaves the world during a thunderstorm and rejoins, it would only be raining.
  • Lightning, unlike other weather effects, does not have an image file associated with it. Thus, it is coded directly into the game engine, allowing for dynamic, realistic lightning.
  • In Bedrock Edition, lightning strikes closer to the player more often than in Java Edition, due to spawn distance limits.



  1. "It's temporal and global"@notch, April 7, 2011
  2. MC-125562 – resolved as "Works as Intended"
  3. [1]