It depends on the type of lightning. There are twenty types of lightning, each with a slightly different duration (stacccato lightning, sheet lightning, intercloud lightning, ribbon lightning, bead lightning, anvil crawlers, bolt from the blue, red sprite, blue sprite, red jet, blue jet, ball lightning, upward lightning, cloud to air lightning, and stepladder lightning). Most strikes last only a few thousands of a second, but others can last a second or more. Ball lightning, for example, has been known to hover in the air for several seconds, sometimes in indoor locations like barns and sheds.
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