News archive

Medicane ZENON formed in the Ionian Sea during the first hours of 17th of November 2017

A medicane was formed during the first hours of 17th of November 2017. The madicane was named ZENON by the National Observatory of Athens. It currently rotates in the Ionian Sea and it is expected to move towards southern Greece in the afternoon of Saturday.
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Central Mediterranean battered by lightning on Tuesday 7/11/2017

Once again, Central Mediterranean was battered by lighting. ZEUS, the lightning detection network of the National Observatory of Athens, recorded over 18000 strokes during Tuesday 7/11/2017.
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Power Blackouts Caused By Lightning Storm (6/11/2017)

Yesterday‘s storm (5/11/2017) didn‘t go unnoticed by Icelanders, causing minor property damage as well as temporary power blackouts across the capital area, Reykjanes, the Westman Islands and more locations. According to RÚV, the blackouts were mostly caused by lightning that damaged Landsnet‘s distribution system, leading to power failure for over 40.000 residents. Icelandic weather seldom includes thunder and lightning, due to the cooler climate, making last night's occurrence quite rare. At least one lightning hit Landsnet’s Suðurnesjalína 1 around 9 PM, causing a total blackout for the entire area, including Keflavík’s international airport. Another lightning hit Rimakotslína 1 right before 11 PM, causing blackouts for various locations in South Iceland, including Vík í Mýrdal as well the nearby Westman Islands. A transformer in Hafnarfjörður also went out, leading to blackouts for both Hafnarfjörður and Garðabær. The reason behind that particular power-outage is unclear. The Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR) reported that over 250 volunteers were at work last night to take care of hundreds of different tasks in the capital area, Reykjanes, the South, the West and the Westfjords. The tasks mostly included attending to roofs, mobile homes, trampolines, signs as well as scaffolding and materials from building sites.
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Daedalus Storm caused many damages in Greece (31/10/2017)

Many parts of Greece have been hit last week by a powerful low barometric phenomenon called Daedalus bringing hailstorms, heavy rain and low temperatures. The areas that have been hit the hardest are in central Greece, and in particular in the Fthiotis Region, as well as parts of the Peloponnese. The weather system is expected to hit Athens on Wednesday, when storms as well as a substantial drop in temperature, are expected. The worst problems occurred in the area around the towns of Livanates and Arkitsa, on Tuesday evening when a heavy hailstorm caused disruption on the main highway linking Athens and Thessaloniki in northern Greece! In Peloponnese the town of Katakolo was dressed in white following a hailstorm. The hail reached the seaside. In the town of Marathon; north-east of Athens, the heavy rainfall created chaos on the streets that eventually turned into small rivers.
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Over 176,000 lightning strikes witnessed in Australia (30/10/2017)

Over 176,000 lightning strikes were witnessed in Australia's Queensland state due to severe storms, the media reported on Monday. According to the state bureau of Meteorology, the lightning bolts ripped across the night skies on Sunday with more expected on Monday, reports the BBC. The turbulent weather had photographers and storm chasers glued to the skies, with many capturing stunning shots of the lightning strikes. "The sky was electric for hours, certainly more than usual storms," a Brisbane-based photographer told the BBC. "It would erupt in bursts, lighting up the entire sky, then calming momentarily before continuing the electric display." Local energy provider Energexx said more than 4,000 homes were left without power as a result of the storms. The bureau has also has warned of more "severe thunderstorms", "damaging winds and large hailstones".
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Heavy electrical activity continues over eastern Mediterranean (26/10/2017)

Thunderstorms dominated the eastern Mediterranean on Wednesday 25/10/2017. The ZEUS lightning detection network of the National Observatory of Athens, recorded over 16000 strokes in the area.
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Electric activity over central and eastern Mediterranean continued on Tuesday 24/10/2017

Thunderstorms and electric activity over central and eastern Mediterranean continued on Tuesday 24/10/2017. According to the ZEUS VLF lightning detection network of NOA, more than 6500 strokes were recorded over the area.
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7000 lightning strokes over central and eastern Mediterranean on Monday 23/10/2017

A lot of thunderstorms and electric activity yesterday 13/10/2017, over central and eastern Mediterranean. The ZEUS lightning detection network recorded more than 7000 strokes during the day. Hail was reported over western Greece cities and a (not yet confirmed) tornado appearance over southern Greece (Ierapetra-Crete).
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At least 4 killed after plane crashes off Ivory Coast amid thunderstorm (15/10/2017)

A cargo plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa’s Ivory Coast shortly after taking off in a thunderstorm on Saturday morning. At least 4 people have died in the crash, but some of the crew may have survived, according to BBC News. No details have emerged on exactly how many people were onboard the plane. Crews have been able to retrieve the bodies from the wrecked plane as debris from the crash swept back towards the shore. The aircraft took off from Port-Bouet Airport in Abidjan around the midmorning hours on Saturday. Rain and thunderstorms were occurring during takeoff, according to weather observations from the airport. Wind speeds reached as high as 30 km/h (18 mph) during the storm.
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Greek island in state of emergency after storm flooding (27/9/2017)

ATHENS, Greece – Greek authorities have declared the northern Aegean Sea island of Samothrace in a state of emergency after storms severely damaged roads, buildings and the drinking water supply. No deaths or injuries have been reported. A government statement said Wednesday that military and civilian teams from other parts of the country have been sent to Samothrace to help repair the flood damage. It said efforts are focusing on repairing the island's road network and water supply. Samothrace's health center and municipal buildings also suffered heavy damage from the storms late Monday and early Tuesday.
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15 injured, 2 critically in lightning strike at French festival (3/9/2017)

A lightning strike at a music festival in France has left at least 15 people injured - with two of them said to be in a serious condition. This was reported by the local authorities. Lightning struck in several places at the festival, leaving 15 people in need of treatment including children. According to the statement, on the scene arrived two teams of doctors, 60 firefighters and three patrol of the gendarmerie. Those seriously injured were a woman in her sixties and a 44-year-old man, the BBC reported. Lightning struck a big tent located near a large tree under which festival goers had taken refuge. Those who were injured received emergency first aid on site, before being transferred to hospital. It adds that the chances of being killed by lightning are 300,000 to one. In countries such as the United Kingdom, an average of three people are killed by lighting every year.
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Lightning strikes Catatumbo River in northern Venezuela 280 times per hour, 260 nights per year (26/8/2017)

A lightning storm rages almost constantly at the mouth of the Catatumbo River in northern Venezuela, with bolts striking up to 280 times per hour for 10 hours a day, on 260 nights every year. That's 28 lightning strikes per minute for those nights - and about 1.2 million lightning strikes each year. Venezuela, home of the delicious pabellón criollo, has been experiencing the Catatumbo lightning for hundreds of years now. It comes from storm clouds that amass more than 3,200 feet above the spot where the Catatumbo River flows into Lake Maracaibo. According to meteorologists, winds going across the lake and its surrounding swamps are likely responsible for the storms. The swamps are plains surrounded by mountains - the Andes (home of the first cultivation of quinoa), the Perijá Mountains, and the Cordillera de Mérida - and the combination of heat and moisture in the area creates electrical charges that - when met with wind destabilized by the mountain ridges - turns into lightning and thunderstorms. Light flashes from the storm can be seen up to 25 miles away, earning the phenomenon the nickname "The Maracaibo Beacon," and it's been used by ships for navigation as a result. The frequency of the lightning strikes changes both within the year and from one year to the next. October's wet season is peak time for the storms, while they generally calm down in January and February. In fact, there was a break in the storm due to a drought between January and March of 2010, and locals feared that the phenomenon was over for good. The Catatumbo lightning holds a special place in the heart of Venezuelans, because it may have been partially responsible for the nation's independence. An attempted surprise attack led by British navigator Sir Francis Drake on the Spanish army was spoiled by the bright lightning one night in 1595, a story that was later recounted in Lope de Vega's epic La Dragontea a few years later. Years later, in the early nineteenth century, the Spanish army itself attempted a sneak attack on Maracaibo in order to take back the country towards the end of the Venezuelan War of Independence. Again, the Catatumbo lightning lit up the landscape, thwarting the invasion and allowing Venezuela's beloved revolutionary hero, Simón Bolívar, and his fleet to win one of the last and most important battles in the wars against the Spanish for independence. The Catatumbo lightning has also been responsible for producing more ozone at the mouth of the Catatumbo than any other place in the world. Scientists have expressed doubt, however, that this will have any effect on the world's ozone layer, due to the lightning's instability. Its effect on tourism, however, is not in doubt, as sightseers have flocked to the region to join nighttime tours to see the lightning. It's a great addition to any South American itinerary.
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Lightning strike Northern Ireland families' lucky escape (24/8/2017)

A Co Down family were left terrified after their home was hit by a "massive explosion" during lightning storms on Tuesday night. Brenda Higgins had put her young son to bed when her house in Katesbridge was struck by lightning. The lightning bolt caused a hole in the roof space of the property. The mother said she had just put the five-year-old to bed when their house was suddenly shook by what she described as a "massive explosion". Her eldest son also had a lucky escape when the lightning bolt hit his bedroom minutes after he had left it. "I was in bed about five or 10 minutes and heard this massive bang," she told the BBC. "From the room, I could see the orange glow of a fire from the other bedroom - thankfully the rain put it out. "My son was very lucky as he had been in the bedroom about half-an-hour beforehand. "He had gone downstairs to watch TV when the lightning struck. "My husband jumped out of bed and my two youngest boys, aged five and 13, were distraught. "I got the younger children out of the house when I realised part of the roof was off." The lightening strike also caused plugs to blow off the wall. "We've called the insurance company to assess the damage, but we'll not be in the house tonight," she said. Brenda, a classroom assistant, and her family are staying with relatives until investigations into the extent of the damage are completed. She added: "There is debris everywhere and we have no electricity. I don't know how long we will be out of the house, but the main thing is that we are all OK and no one was hurt." Meanwhile, another Co Down family also described their terror after believing a "bomb had gone off" when their house was struck by lightning. Gareth McGreevy was watching television with his parents in their home on Drumnaconagher Road, between Crossgar and Ballynahinch, when they heard a loud bang that forced them to evacuate. "We were watching television waiting on the Rose of Tralee result and there was suddenly a massive explosion," he explained. "A phone flew off the wall - it was like a bomb had gone off. "There was an eerie silence and you could smell the burning." Mr McGreevy described the unlucky strike, which severely damaged the roof of the house and caused lights to fall off the ceiling, as "terrifying". "We didn't realise that the roof had been struck until about 15 minutes later when we had a walk around and saw all the debris," he explained. The roof of the property now has three holes in it after the tiles were blown to "smithereens". His sister's car also suffered a few bumps after debris fell on top of it. The family were left in the dark after the lightning knocked out the power. He added: "It was terrifying. It was a surreal experience, and something I'd hate for anyone to go through."
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Over 24000 strokes were recorded yesterday (Friday, 28 June 2017) by ZEUS

Over 24 CG lightning strokes were recorded by the ZEUS VLF detection network on Friday 28 of June 2017 over central and Eastern Europe. The areas that were mostly affected was northern Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Moldova.
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Over 7000 CG strokes were recorded over Europe on Thursday 29/6/2017

A lot of electrical activity, mainly over East Europe, on Thursday 29/6/2017. The ZEUS VLF lightning detection system, recorded around 7300 CG strokes. The main activity period was from 09:00 to 15:00 UTC.
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Lightning sparking more boreal forest fires (27/6/2017)

A new NASA-funded study finds that lightning storms were the main driver of recent massive fire years in Alaska and northern Canada, and that these storms are likely to move farther north with climate warming, potentially altering northern landscapes. The study, led by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of California, Irvine, examined the cause of the fires, which have been increasing in number in recent years. There was a record number of lightning-ignited fires in the Canadian Northwest Territories in 2014 and in Alaska in 2015. The team found increases of between two and five percent a year in the number of lightning-ignited fires since 1975. To study the fires, the team analyzed data from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites and from ground-based lightning networks. Lead author Sander Veraverbeke of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who conducted the work while at UC Irvine, said that while the drivers of large fire years in the high north are still poorly understood, the observed trends are consistent with climate change. "We found that it is not just a matter of more burning with higher temperatures. The reality is more complex: higher temperatures also spur more thunderstorms. Lightning from these thunderstorms is what has been igniting many more fires in these recent extreme events," Veraverbeke said. Study co-author Brendan Rogers at Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts, said these trends are likely to continue. "We expect an increasing number of thunderstorms, and hence fires, across the high latitudes in the coming decades as a result of climate change." This is confirmed in the study by different climate model outputs. Study co-author Charles Miller of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said while data from the lightning networks were critical to this study, it is challenging to use these data for trend detection because of continuing network upgrades. "A spaceborne sensor that provides high northern latitude lightning data that can be linked with fire dynamics would be a major step forward," he said. The researchers found that the fires are creeping farther north, near the transition from boreal forests to Arctic tundra. "In these high-latitude ecosystems, permafrost soils store large amounts of carbon that become vulnerable after fires pass through," said co-author James Randerson of the University of California, Irvine. "Exposed mineral soils after tundra fires also provide favorable seedbeds for trees migrating north under a warmer climate." "Taken together, we discovered a complex feedback loop between climate, lightning, fires, carbon and forests that may quickly alter northern landscapes," Veraverbeke concluded. "A better understanding of these relationships is critical to better predict future influences from climate on fires, and from fires on climate."
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Train services still affected as storm death toll rises to two in northern Germany (24/06/2017)

At least two people were killed on Thursday when a ferocious storm swept through northern Germany. On Friday morning Deutsche Bahn was still struggling to bring train services back on track. The high-speed ICE rail line between Berlin and Düsseldorf was completely cancelled on the section between Bielefeld and Gütersloh on Friday morning. The long-distance service had instead been redirected through Osnabrück. High-speed services between Hanover and Hamburg was also still not running, having been cancelled on Thursday afternoon. Services are expected to resume on Friday afternoon, but on a redirected route - meaning frustrating delays for people travelling home for the weekend. There was some good news though, as regular services between Hamburg and Bremen had resumed on Friday. On Thursday and early Friday morning gale-force winds, torrential rains and hail damaged rail tracks and power lines, forcing trains to be halted between Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Kiel and Hanover. Video footage was recorded of lightning striking Berlin's Fernsehturm, the tallest building in Germany. A 50-year-old man died while his wife was injured when their parked car was hit by a falling tree near the city of Uelzen. A falling tree also seriously injured a female cyclist nearby. An 83-year-old woman meanwhile died in Gifhorn in the neighbouring state of Lower Saxony after her car hit a tree which had been blown across the street in strong gales, police said. In the port city of Hamburg, the weather service reported a rare tornado some 10 kilometres from the airport. In the south of the city, storms damaged house roofs and killed sheep that were hit by toppled trees. Music fans had to seek shelter in their cars at the venue of a weekend musical festival near Bremen that, ironically, is named "Hurricane".
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Lightning claims topped $800 million last year in the US (20/06/2017)

Every year the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm recognize Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 18-24) by estimating the toll of lightning claims in the United States, writes the I.I.I. research team. Last year insurers paid out nearly $862 million in lighting claims to more than 100,000 policyholders, a 4.5% increase from 2015. Damage caused by lightning, such as a fire, is covered by most homeowners insurance policies. Florida—the state with the most thunderstorms—remained the top state for lighting claims in 2016, with 10,385, followed by Texas (9,098), Georgia (8,037) and Louisiana (5,956). Homeowners Insurance Claims and Payouts for Lightning Losses, 2007 – 2016 The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) encourages homeowners to install a lightning protection system in their homes. Per Kimberly Loehr, communications director for LPI: “Lightning protection systems that follow the guidelines of NFPA are designed to protect your home by providing a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt.” To learn more about an LPI-certified lighting protection system, click here or visit lightning.org/find-an-installer.
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Significant activity over Greece during Sunday, 12 June 2017

A lot of thunderstorms battered Greece, yesterday (Sunday, 12 June 2017). Rain and hail left behind over 50 mm of precipitation in various areas, like Kozani (64 mm), Antikyra (55 mm), and Paramythia (51 mm). At the same time, the ZEUS VLF lightning detection system, recorded over 2000 CG lightning strikes, mainly over the Greek mainland.
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Lightning strikes kill 57, 19 killed by strong winds in Myanmar (8/6/2017)

From April to end of May last year 10 people died from lightning strikes, but this year the figure has risen to 57 between April and June 6, with another 18 people injured, according to the Department of Relief and Resettlement. Apart from Chin State, there were casualties in other states and regions. Deaths from lightning strikes were highest in Ayeyarwady Region with 14, while Bago Region had eight deaths, Tanintharyi Region had seven, Magwe Region had six and Yangon Region had five. There were also fatalities and injuries from strong winds. According to the department’s figures for March to May 26, 19 people were killed and 30 people injured by strong winds, which also destroyed more than 13,000 houses and about 160 religious buildings. “In the past few years, cumulonimbus clouds have been forming in a wider area, even in Ayeyarwady, Bago and Yangon. This year, there has been more lightning and hailstorms from these clouds and we have had more reports of people being hit by lightning,” U Kyaw Moe Oo, deputy director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, said Wednesday. Cumulonimbus clouds form in the evening due to high temperatures during the day and can result in thunderstorms, hailstorms and isolated showers, he said. “Due to high temperatures during the day, most regions and states have experienced lightning and strong winds this year. It is better to switch off electrical appliances such as televisions and mobile phones when you feel it is going to rain and you hear thunder,” he said. The monsoon has been strong in southern Myanmar, he said, and it may rain in Mon and Kayin states, Tanintharyi Region, the delta and central Myanmar. “Thunderbolts usually happen during the pre-monsoon period – April and May – as well late in the season,” he said. The department’s weather forecast for Wednesday predicted likely moderate though rough seas in the delta, Gulf of Mottama and along the Mon-Tanintharyi coasts. Wave height was expected to be 6 to 10 feet in the delta, the Gulf of Mottama and Mon-Tanintharyi coasts, and about 4 to 6 feet on the Rakhine coast. “Cumulonimbus clouds may form in the delta and central Myanmar. Thunderstorms, strong winds and lightning will continue,” U Kyaw Moe Oo said.
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