There really aren't differrent
                                             'types' of lightning, almost all
                                             lightning discharges occur in
                                             basically the same way.
                                             However, varying conditions
                                             and situations that lightning
                                             occurs in make the flash look
                                             different, with a few
                                             exceptions, and names have
                                             been given to describe them.

                                             Here is a list of the most
                                             common 'types' of lightning:

                                              'Anvil Crawlers'- lightning
                                             that branches upward and
                                             outward like a tree along the
                                             tops and sides of large
                                             thunderstorms. The lightning
                                             seems to 'travel' or 'crawl'
                                             across the sky.
                                             Anvil Lightning- (also
                                             called a 'bolt from the blue')-
                                             Dangerous type of lightning
                                             that extends away from the
                                             storm cloud and strikes the
                                             ground away from the storm.
                                             Ball Lightning- An
                                             unexplained, rare, floating ball
                                             of light that occurs during
                                              Bead Lightning-A rare
                                             occurence where separate
                                             illuminated sections remain for
                                             a short duration along a
                                             recently discharged lightning
                                             channel, making the channel
                                             look like a string of lighted
                                              Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning-
                                             Somewhat rare type of
                                             discharge between two or
                                             more completely separate
                                             storm clouds. Not to be
                                             confused with common
                                             intracloud lightning occuring
                                             within one storm cloud.
                                             Lightning- A lightning
                                             channel between cloud and
                                             ground from a
                                             downward-moving stepped
                                             Lightning- A lightning
                                             channel between cloud and
                                             ground from an upward-moving
                                             leader. Most occur off of tall
                                             buildings, mountains and
                                              Heat Lightning- Name
                                             given to faint flashes of
                                             lightning on the horizon from
                                             faraway thunderstorms. Heat
                                             lightning got its name
                                             because it is often seen on
                                             hot summer nights, a time
                                             when thunderstorms are

                                              Intracloud Lightning- The
                                             most common type of
                                             discharge- lightning
                                             completely inside the storm
                                             cloud, jumping between
                                             different charge regions in the
                                             cloud. Intracloud lightning is
                                             sometimes called sheet
                                             lightning because it lights up
                                             the sky with a 'sheet' of light
                                             (pictured below - click to
                                             enlarge). Not to be confused
                                             with cloud-to-cloud lightning.
                                              Ribbon Lightning-
                                             Appearance of a lightning
                                             flash's separate return strokes
                                             side-by-side, resembling
                                             ribbons, caused by wind
                                             blowing each successive
                                             return stroke sideways
                                              Sheet Lightning- Name
                                             given to clouds illuminated
                                             evenly with a 'sheet' of light
                                             from a lightning discharge
                                             inside the cloud.
                                              Sprites and Jets- Electrical
                                             discharges that occur high
                                             above active thunderstorms.
                                             They have been found to occur
                                             in conjunction with and/or as a
                                             reaction to a normal
                                             cloud-to-ground lightning
                                             They are swift and faintly lit,
                                             making them almost invisible
                                             to the naked eye.
                                             Observations of sprites and
                                             jets have been made by
                                             placing a telescope on a high
                                             mountain and aiming it above
                                             thunderstorms occuring
                                             hundreds of miles away.
                                              Staccato Lightning- A
                                             lightning flash that consists of
                                             only one return stroke.
                                              Streak Lightning-(forked,
                                             jagged or zigzagged lightning)-
                                             The visible section of a
                                             lightning channel. All lightning
                                             is 'streak' lightning, we just
                                             don't see most of it because
                                             some flashes occur entirely in
                                             the storm cloud. 'Streak'
                                             lightning isn't really a scientific
                                             term, but the general public
                                             uses it to describe the visible
                                             part of a lightning flash.