News archive

323 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway (29/8/2016)

Lightning is thought to have caused the death of 323 reindeer that were discovered by a hunting warden in a small area south of Hardangervidda over the weekend. An official from the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (Statens naturoppsyn - NNI) was on a routine inspection on Friday when he walked into an area where dead reindeer were lying close together on the ground.
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More than 25,000 Lightning strike Northern Greece within 12 hours (24/8/2016)

An unusual high activity of lightning has been recorded in Northern Greece on Monday, when a wet weather front hit the area. “More than 25,000 lightning struck Northern Greece within 12 hours, from Monday (22/8/2016) afternoon to midnight,” Michalis Sioutas, meteorologist at the airport Macedonia in Thessaloniki, claimed adding that “17,000 alone struck the central and western Macedonia.” According to data obtained from detectors recording thunder and lightning, the most lightning fell in the prefectures of Pella, parts of Imathia, in Florina and Kozani, western Macedonia. “The unusually high lightning activity is due to the great atmospheric heights where the storms occur. To this added was the high temperatures of the recent days, thus creating conditions of increased atmospheric instability,” Sioutas told Athens News Agency. One of these lightning hit a two-story home in the village of Perdika, Ptolemaida and set it on fire. Firefighters managed to extinguished the fire that caused material damage.
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Tropical Storm Fiona forms in eastern Atlantic (18/8/2016)

The sixth named storm of Atlantic hurricane season, Fiona, developed late Wednesday afternoon in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The storm doesn't pose a threat to land yet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center in Miami. As of a 5 p.m., the center of Fiona was located 920 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. It was moving northwest at 16 mph. Forecasts through Monday show that the storm is projected to move west-northwest toward the central Atlantic Ocean, according to the hurricane center. It's too early to determine the storm's path after Monday. A tropical storm is the stage just before a hurricane develops. Sustained winds associated with the storm, which are currently 40 mph at the storm's center, would need to be 65 mph to be categorized as a hurricane. "The storm poses no threat to the Caribbean or any land at all through at least Monday, and likely well beyond," said New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson. "At this point, it's uncertain, but storms taking this initial track oftentimes just head right up through the North Atlantic. Maybe the greatest threat will turn out to be New Finland. "As usual, people need to keep an eye on it," he said.
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2016 lightning death toll in USA already as high as all of 2015, NOAA says (17/8/2016)

Through the first 8 1/2 months of 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there have already been as many deaths caused by lightning as there were in all of 2015. NOAA's records show 27 people have been killed by lightning in the United States this year, which matches last year's 12-month total. Already, it's the deadliest year since 2012, and just four deaths shy of the 10-year average of 31 fatalities. If the current pace continues, there would be 43 lightning deaths in the U.S. this year, the highest toll since 45 and 48 fatalities were reported in 2007 and 2006, respectively.
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Study provides a new method to measure the energy of a lightning strike (3/8/2016)

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 3, 2016) - Florida, often recognized as the "lightning capital of the United States," is a great place to study the amount of energy released by a lightning strike. Just ask University of South Florida School of Geosciences Associate Professor Matthew Pasek and his colleague Marc Hurst of Independent Geological Sciences, Inc. who have developed a unique method to measure the amount energy expended by a bolt of cloud-to-ground lightning. According to Pasek, one of the more difficult things to measure is the amount of energy in a lightning strike. While atmospheric physicists can approximate lightning bolt energy by measuring the electrical current and temperature of bolts as they occur, the numbers are usually approximations. The team of Pasek and Hurst is the first to investigate the energy in lightning strikes by using geology "after-the-fact" research, rather than measuring energy during a strike. By conducting this lightning strike "archaeology," the researchers were able to measure the energy in a bolt of lightning that struck Florida sand thousands of years ago. The results of their analysis were recently published in the journal Scientific Reports. "When lightning strikes the sand, it may generate a cylindrical tube of glass called a fulgurite, explained Pasek. "The structure of the fulgurite, created by the energy and heat in a lightning strike, can tell us a lot about the nature of the strike, particularly about the amount of energy in a single bolt of lightning." The team collected more than 250 fulgurites - both recent and ancient - from sand mines in Polk County, Fla., at a site that is believed to have recorded thousands of years of lightning strikes, providing a way to measure the lightning strike history of what is today called the I-4 Corridor, a region near Tampa and Orlando. They analyzed the properties of the fulgurites, paying particular attention to the length and circumference of the glass cylinders because the amount energy released is revealed by these dimensions. "Everyone knows there is a lot of energy in a lightning bolt, but how much?" Pasek explained. "Ours is the first attempt at determining lightning energy distribution from fulgurites and is also the first data set to measure lightning's energy delivery and its potential damage to a solid earth surface." According to Pasek, the energy released by lightning is measured in megajoules, also expressed as MJ/m. "For example a single megajoule is equivalent to about 200 food calories, or the energy from leaving a microwave on for 20 minutes to cook food," he explains. "It can also be compared to a 60 watt lightbulb's energy use if left on for about four hours. It's also the same as the kinetic energy a car has traveling about 60 mph." Their research found that the energy produced by a lightning strike peaked at greater than 20MJ/m. The researchers also found a way to separate the "normal" lightning strikes from the "abnormal." "While we presented a new method for measuring by using fossilized lightning rocks, we also found - for the first time - that lightning strikes follow something called a 'lognormal trend," explained Pasek. "A lognormal trend shows that the most powerful lightning strike happen more often than would be expected if you made a bell curve of strikes. This means that the big lightning strikes are really big." According to Pasek, a bolt of lightning can carry extremely high voltage and heat the air temperature around the strike to more 30,000 degrees Kelvin - that's over 53,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When lightning strikes sand, soil, rock or clay, the current flows through the target and heats the material to above its vaporizing level. Rapid cooling produces the fulgurite. According to Pasek, who is also an expert in astrobiology, geochemistry and cosmochemistry, lightning strikes the Earth about 45 times per second, with 75 to 90 percent of the strikes over land masses. "About a quarter of these strikes occur from a cloud to the ground, so the fulgurite-forming potential is great, with up to 10 fulgurites formed per second globally," said Pasek. Their research serves not only to provide a way to measure the immense energy in lightning, but also to help raise awareness of the dangers posed by the potentially deadly bolts.
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Floods and lightning strikes kill more than 85 people across India (31/7/2016)

At least 85 people have been killed by lightning and floods in the past few days across the country, reported PTI. Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha are the states worst affected by the extreme weather conditions. At least 68 lakh people have been displaced and tens of thousands have been left homeless, according to The Hindu. In Assam, at least 26 people died in the floods till Saturday, reported dna. The administration has moved around 1.3 lakh people to relief camps while more than 16 lakh people have been affected in the state. The Army, National and State Disaster Response Force personnel are assisting rescue and relief efforts. At least three people were killed in Meghalaya on Saturday after flood waters submerged the West Garo Hills. Two people were reported missing in the area. The Bihar government has declared two districts – East Champaran and Muzaffarpur – flood hit, according to PTI. At least 26 people have died so far in the state, where more than 26.19 lakh people have been affected by the floods. As many as 100 houses have washed away because of river erosion near Farakka barrage in West Bengal. More than 22,000 people have been affected in the area, as 31 villages remain submerged in the flood waters of the Fullara river, reported News18. Odisha registered 36 cases of death from lightning on Saturday, reported The Indian Express. The lightning strike also injured at least 37 people in the state. This is the maximum number of people who have killed by lightning strikes on a single day in Odisha.
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Lab sparks advances in lightning research (26/7/2016)

MAGDALENA MOUNTAINS – Perhaps no other natural occurrence is so startlingly apparent and intrusive as lightning. Each year, lightning kills roughly 100 people in the United States and does billions of dollars of damage around the world. But for something that is so white-hot and blazingly bold, lightning is not well-understood. That’s because the thunderstorms that produce lightning happen on a scale much too large to be duplicated in a laboratory.
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Lightning strike causes damage to Chicago subway structure (25/7/2016)

A pedestrian ramp to a subway station in Chicago was damaged Sunday during a heavy storm after it was apparently hit by lightning. Officials said no one was injured. The dramatic event was captured on video, and came during a severe thunderstorm that brought 60-mph winds, hail and torrential rain that left more than 30,000 people without power. The structure that was damaged was at the Illinois Medical District station on the Blue Line route. A train was reportedly at the station, but unaffected by the incident. Service was suspended on sections of the Blue Line, as well as on the Brown and Red Lines, due to other storm-related damage.
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Lightning strikes kill 17-year-old in northern Arizona (22/7/2016)

A 17-year-old boy killed by lightning on Arizona's highest peak was hiking in an area that experienced over 100 strikes within a one-hour period and is known for its extreme weather, authorities said. The Coconino County Sheriff's Office identified the boy as Wade Young of Tempe, Arizona. Young, who just graduated from high school, was struck by lightning close to the summit of Humphreys Peak near Flagstaff. The boy and two others were hiking the peak on Wednesday when a strong monsoon storm rolled in. The group called 911 dispatchers shortly before 1 p.m. seeking help, but they weren't rescued for hours because of the bad weather. Two boys ages 17 and 18 survived. Young was described as a lively and active teenager by friends and family.
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Lightning claims 5 US lives in past week (18/7/2016)

Lightning claimed a fifth life in the past week across the United States on Saturday. With thunderstorms set to rattle several parts of the nation this week, more lives will be at risk.
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Photographer Captures Moonbow During Montana Thunderstorm (14/7/2016)

A rare moonbow was captured in photos over the weekend (July, 9 2016) n eastern Montana. Photographer Jullie Powell shared photos of the rare phenomenon with The Weather Channel as she watched a thunderstorm in Shepherd, Montana, on Saturday. The moonbow, which appeared just before 11 p.m., was illuminated by lightning. If you look at the photo below close enough, you can almost make out an extremely faint secondary moonbow to the left of the main bow.
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10,000 flashes of lightning: Hong Kong marvels at the might of an epic summer storm (10/7/2016)

The city was hit by a whopping 10,000 bolts of lightning during an epic 12-hour overnight thunderstorm, with even meteorologists taken aback by the intensity.
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Hundreds of Thousands Evacuated as Tropical Storm Hits China (9/7/2016)

Typhoon Nepartak weakened to a strong tropical storm Saturday as it lashed China's eastern coast, bringing powerful winds and heavy rains. The water resources department of Fujian province said authorities have evacuated nearly 230,000 people living in risky areas and ordered 33,200 fishing boats to return to port.
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Model for predicting coastal storm damage in the North Sea (8/7/2016)

A system for predicting storm damage by waves in northern areas of the North Sea has been developed by mathematicians at the University of Strathclyde.
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Fiery exoplanet may see a trillion lightning flashes in an hour (5/7/2016)

It’s the first interplanetary lightning forecast. Using observations of storms in the solar system, a team of astronomers led by Gabriella Hodosán at the University of St Andrews, UK, has extrapolated to predict lightning on several exoplanets. Volcanic exoplanets probably have highly electric atmospheres, with the dust from eruptions leading to lightning bursts, says Hodosán. To model what’s happening on the ultra-hot Kepler-10b, which is not much larger than Earth and could have a surface made up entirely of volcanoes, the team used data from lightning during two eruptions on Earth – Mount Redoubt, Alaska, in 2009 and Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland, in 2010. The results suggest that if its surface is mostly volcanic, Kepler-10b should experience between 100 million and 2 trillion lightning flashes in the two hours it takes to travel across its star – when it is easiest for astronomers to study exoplanets.
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Researchers with Sandia Labs study lightning's effects (4/7/2016)

Researchers at one of the nation's federal laboratories are creating simulated lightning as part of an effort to determine how everything from nuclear weapon components to entire buildings will hold up to Mother Nature.
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3 Days of Heavy Rain in China Leave 50 Dead, 12 Missing (2/7/2016)

Three days of heavy rain in southern China have left 50 people dead and another 12 missing and destroyed thousands of homes, authorities said Sunday, as areas along the Yangtze River braced for more floods.
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Lightning strikes claim 14 lives across Madhya Pradesh, India (2/7/2016)

Lightning struck various parts of Madhya Pradesh on Friday, killing 14 people, including a six-year-old child. A 6-year-old child died while three others were injured when lightning struck them at village Imaliya under Raneh police station in Damoh district. The children were playing under a Mango tree. When rains started, they took shelter under the tree on which lighting struck. Six-year-old Mahendra died on spot while nine-year-old Sapna, 14-year-old Sakshi and 6-year-old Narendra were injured. They were rushed to Damoh district hospital.
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Six killed by lightning in Sonbhadra, India (27/6/2016)

Lightning claimed six lives including four children of a family in Sonbhadra district on Sunday, 26/6/2016. According to reports, Golu (7), Pushpa (5), Durgavati (7), Gudia (13), Nandu (7) and Gita (8) of a family of Tolabadi area of Kanahar, were playing under a tree in morning, when massive lightning struck them. Golu, Durgavati, Pushpa and Gudia died on the spot while Nandu and Gita suffered serious injuries. On getting information, SDM Sadar Kailash Singh reached the incident site and asked policemen to rush the injured children to NTPC hospital. He assured the family that government will provide compensation to them. Meanwhile, in Sagobandh area of Babhani one more child Renu (7) was killed in lightening while Raju and Kamlesh suffered burns. One Nirmala Devi (26) of Bairkhand area of Windomganj was also killed in lightening. Their bodies were sent for postmortem.
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Over 60.000 flashes recorded in 24 hours over Europe (25/6/2016)

The VLF lightning detection system ZEUS recorded over 60.000 Cloud-to-Ground flashes on Saturday, June 26, 2016. Significant amounts of rain and hail was also recorded in the affected regions. The electric activity was focused mainly on parts of central Europe and the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
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