The longest single lightning bolt was recorded in the United States on April 29, 2020. The lightning bolt crossed the states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas and has a length of 768 kilometers.
The length is measured with a margin of plus/minus 8 kilometers. He writes WMO on his website.
NRK has compared the length of lightning to a number of distances in Norway:
- Steinkjer – Kristiansand: 692 kilometers
- Oslo – Hamburg: 709 kilometers
- Oslo – Mo i Rana: 731 kilometers
- The longest line in the world: 768 kilometers
- Oslo – Helsinki: 786.9 kilometers
- Trondheim – Troms: 787 kilometers
The new record is about 60 kilometers longer than the previous longest record.
As of October 31, 2018, lightning in southern Brazil was measured at 709 kilometers.
Long lasting lightning
WMO has also approved a new record for longest lightning bolt.
The lightning strike that crossed parts of Uruguay and Argentina on June 18, 2020 lasted 17,102 seconds.
The previous record was 16.73 seconds, set in northern Argentina on March 4, 2019.
There is a committee of extreme weather and climate events experts at WMO that approves the record. Although lightning strikes in 2020, they were first approved on Monday this week.
– This is a remarkable record for a single lightning bolt, said WMO’s Randall Cerveny in the report.
Better measuring tools
The new record is the result of a new and improved measuring instrument. In 2018 and 2019, for the first time, the so-called “megaflash” could be measured using satellite imagery.
WMO writes that new records were set in the Great Plains in the United States and in the La Plata area in South America. This is an area known for its extreme thunderstorms.
The two lightnings were not isolated incidents, but occurred during a large thunderstorm, which made it even more dangerous.
– Lightning is a serious hazard that takes many lives every year, said WMO head Petteri Taalas.
He added that the findings point to the dangers associated with “lightning that can travel great distances”.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has a number of weather and climate records on their website.
In terms of lightning, WMO also has a record of lightning that has killed most people:
- The highest death toll from being struck by lightning occurred in Zimbabwe in 1975. At that time, 21 people were killed by lightning in a house where people had fled,
- Most of the people who indirectly lost their lives due to lightning strikes were in Dronka in Egypt in 1994. At that time, 469 people died after The lightning struck three oil tanks.
In Norway, deaths after lightning strikes are extremely rare. In July 2021, two young sisters died after being struck by lightning at Melshornet in Hareid in Møre og Romsdal.
In June 2016, 323 wild deer were killed by a lightning strike in Hardangervidda.
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