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Nature & Environment

Record-breaking 700km lightning bolt recorded

By T.K. Randall
June 29, 2020 · Comment icon 7 comments

Lightning can travel hundreds of kilometers. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Blyskawica
A single bolt of lightning was able to span a distance equivalent to that between Boston and Washington DC.
Thunderstorms can be frightening at the best of times, but imagine a fork of lightning so extensive that it cuts across a distance of 700km in one go.

Now according to the World Meteorological Organization, such a bolt from the blue - referred to as a "megaflash" occurred over Brazil on October 31st, 2018 - a new world record.

Experts also confirmed a new record holder for the longest duration for a lightning strike - a whopping 16.73 seconds - which struck Argentina on March 4th, 2019.
In a statement, Randall Cerveny - the chief rapporteur in the WMO expert committee - described the new records as "extraordinary."

"It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves," he said.

Unlike previous records which were picked up using ground-based facilities, these latest findings took advantage of modern space-based observations - enabling scientists for the first time to record instances of extreme lightning strikes covering hundreds of kilometers.

"This dramatic augmentation of our space-based remote sensing capabilities has allowed the detection of previously unobserved extremes in lightning occurrence, known as 'megaflashes,' which are defined as horizontal mesoscale lightning discharges that reach 100s of kilometers in length," said Michael J. Peterson of the Space and Remote Sensing Group of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Source: | Comments (7)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hankenhunter 2 years ago
You'll get a charge out of this.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
Global warming.....
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hankenhunter 2 years ago
I wish I could have been there to see it. It must have been awe inspiring. (Lightning lover) But, if what you've linked is true, I will probably get to, We get some real bang crashers in B.C's interior, and the Kootenay's.
Comment icon #4 Posted by the13bats 2 years ago
We got lightning alley here in floriduh, some folks pack a lunch and make a day of watching it.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hankenhunter 2 years ago
For kicks as a kid in Manitoba I used to sit on top of the barn opposite the lightning rod hoping for a strike. My Dad; "That boy ain't right" I've since come to believe he wasn't wrong. Luckily the strike never came.
Comment icon #6 Posted by the13bats 2 years ago
I had a fiberglass cb antenna take a hit, the antenna was like powdered burnt toothpicks really weird, 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Myles 2 years ago
It's weird that it took almost 2 years to verify this.    Bummer that harnessing the power of lightning isn't currently possible or economically sound.  

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