The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has announced two new lightning records, one for distance and one for duration.
On June 20, 2007, a lightning flash over Oklahoma travelled a horizontal distance of 321 kilometres. On Aug. 30, 2012, a lightning strike lasted for 7.74 seconds over Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France.
This is the first time that lightning has been included in WMO’s official Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, which, in the past, has included records for things such as heat, cold, wind speed and rainfall.
“This investigation highlights the fact that, because of continued improvements in meteorology and climatology technology and analysis, climate experts can now monitor and detect weather events such as specific lightning flashes in much greater detail than ever before,” said Randall Cerveny, chief rapporteur of climate and weather extremes for WMO.
The distance travelled is important in highlighting lightning safety.
“The end result reinforces critical safety information regarding lightning, specifically that lightning flashes can travel huge distances from their parent thunderstorms. Our experts’ best advice: when thunder roars, go indoors,” Cerveny said.