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770km Megaflash Sets New Lightning Record In The US

A 2020 lightning strike has recently confirmed to set the new world record in the United States, on Tuesday.


A 2020 lightning strike has recently confirmed to set the new world record in the United States, on Tuesday.

The UN’s world meteorlogical organisation (WMO) confirmed on Tuesday , Feburary 1st, that a lighting strike on the 29th of April, 2020, set the new world, stretching across Louisianna, Missisipi and Texas – a full 768 kilometres (477.2 miles). 

Dubbed a ‘megaflash’: a lighting strike strike that can extend for hundreds of miles, the WMO, pointed out in their statement, it was equivalent to the distance between between New York City and Columbus, Ohio, or between London and the German city of Hamburg. 

See for yourself:

The record-breaking strike was verified via the WMO’s twitter, with its committee of experts also reporting a new world record for the duration of a lightning flash.

That title goes to A single flash that developed continuously through a thunderstorm over Uruguay and northern Argentina on June 18, 2020 lasted for 17.1 second, compared to the record holder by 0.37 seconds, set on March 4, 2019, also in northern Argentina.

The enormity of these events has not gone unnoticed. Randall Cerveny, of Arizona State university and the WMO rapporteur of weather and climate extremes, said in a recent statement ‘These are extraordinary records from single lightning flash events.’

‘Environmental extremes are living measurements of the power of nature, as well as scientific progress in being able to make such assessments,’ he continued.

Lightning strikes have been known to cause inuries and deaths however, Cerverny resassures that ‘Both were cloud-to-cloud, several thousand feet above the ground, so no one was in danger’. in spite of the low threat of the strike, he went on by stressing the importance of these recent findings as vital information to public safety.

‘These findings are also important to the general public as a stark reminder that lightning can strike far away from the parent source region’, he added.

this kind of extreme weather is reported accross the world every year. As such it is as yet inconclusive whether Megaflashes such as this are linked to the effects of climate change. 

Technological advancements in meteorological equipment have dramatically improved in recent years and thus given meteorologists better tools with which to detect the length and duration of these lightning flashes. ‘It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we are able to observe them as lightning technology improves’. Cerveney notes.

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Freelance writer and journalist with an MA in English literature. He's been known to cry at sunsets and laugh in the face of ennui. Not lover nor fighter, but a man and barely one that.

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