Somewhere along the way, someone explained that it's lightning in the clouds that forms because of the heat. In reality, heat lightning doesn't exist.
The reality isn't so interesting. Heat lightning is simply regular lightning that's so far away that you don't hear the thunder. On many nights, you can see the lightning in thunderstorms that are up to 100 miles away! But the thunder spawned by that lightning dissipates long before it can make it to your ears.
On Tuesday night, Mother Nature put on quite a light show. Folks on the Southside were seeing vivid lightning from storms that were mainly hitting North Carolina and areas around Petersburg, VA.