Extreme lightning events set records | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


The –est

Extreme lightning events set records

The furthest strike was in Oklahoma, with the longest in France

By
1:00pm, October 17, 2016

THE FLASH   New techniques allow scientists to better monitor lightning flashes, leading to extreme records. 

Two electrifying light shows were much more than flashes in the pan. A 2007 thunderstorm over Oklahoma produced a lightning flash that stretched more than 321 kilometers horizontally — roughly the distance from Washington, D.C., to New York City. In southern France in 2012, a single lightning flash lit up the sky nonstop for 7.74 seconds, enough time for light to make about three round trips from Earth to the moon.

A World Meteorological Organization committee deemed these lightning flashes the world record holders for lightning distance and duration in a paper published online September 13 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The new records emphasize the dangers posed by lightning flashes, even when a storm appears to be far away, the committee writes.

Lightning flashes used to be

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content