The Longest And The Greatest Duration Of A Single Lightning Flash

Nature is so beautiful and, at the same time, extremely unpredictable that every time manages to surprise us with various phenomena and its edgeless power.

Today we will present to you two new world records in which nature has decided to surpass itself again: the longest single lightning flash and the greatest duration of a single lightning flash.

Established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva on 1 February 2022, these two new world records for mega-lightning have been recorded using the latest satellite technology called the WMO’s Committee on Weather and Climate Extremes, which supervises all official records of the world, hemispheric, and regional extreme records. The committee member Ron Holle noted, “these extremely large and long-duration lightning events were not isolated but happened during active thunderstorms. Any time there is thunder heard it is time to reach a lightning-safe place.”

The other two previous records were recorded by another type of technology that collected data from the ground-based Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) network. But due to its limitations, the scientists had to replace it with a newer and more modern technology that includes instruments like the Geostationary Lightning Mappers (GLMs) on the R-series Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-16 and 17), the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) Lightning Imager, and FY-4 Lightning Mapping Imager.

The longest single lightning flash

The new record for the longest lightning flash in the world occurred on April 29, 2020, across parts of the southern United States. It covered a horizontal distance of 768 ± 8 km (477.2 ± 5 miles), being 60 km longer than the previous record that took place on October 31, 2018, across parts of the southern part of Brazil.

Greatest duration of a single lightning flash

The greatest duration of a single lightning flash happened over Uruguay and northern Argentina on June 18, 2020. Lasting 17.102 ± 0.002 seconds, it managed to surpass the former record that took place over northern Argentina on March 4th, 2019, with only 0.37 seconds.

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