Last year the largest lightning strike in history was recorded in the United States: traveled 750 kilometers and crossed three states of the country. With all its magnitude it illuminated the sky and, although its flash lasted only a second, it left its mark on the world record. This lightning extended over the states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. He wasn’t the only one; in 2022 there were hundreds of millions worldwide, especially in January, due to the eruption of the volcano in Tonga, reported Vaisala, a company specialized in environmental measurements and meteorological phenomena. in its annual review of these phenomena.
Lightning can be potentially dangerous. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), one of the most extreme occurred in 1975 and killed 21 people in a Zimbabwean tent. While in 1994 469 individuals died after one fell into a fuel depot in Egypt. Unlike other phenomena, their spontaneous formation and the fact that they can fall anywhere make them difficult to prevent. That is why it is always recommended to stay away from certain structures, such as bus stops, or trees, which tend to attract them.
The report counted lightning strikes across the US through the National Lightning Detection Network, as well as those across the globe through the Global Lightning Detection Network (GLD360). Both work as monitors throughout the year. A phenomenon that drew attention occurred in mid-January of last year, after the eruption of the volcano Tonga-Hunga Sa’apai. In Oceania, 200,000 lightning bolts were generated just when it started.
Then a cataclysmic event sent shock waves and a tsunami. In the Tonga eruption, sensors detected 400,000 lightning strikes in six hours. Thus, in the most critical periods, half of the lightning from all over the world was concentrated in the crater of the volcano in an unprecedented event.
In the United States there are places that stood out as lightning capitals. Texas had 22.7 million, according to an analysis Fox 35. Although this number is high, it represents a large decrease compared to 2021, when it was 41 million. In addition, its permanence in the ranking is usually constant due to its location and size. The list of those that received the greatest number of impacts in the year that has just ended, by density, are:
If rays are taken into account as a function of densitythen Florida is the winning state. Over there 285 per square mile were recorded in 2022. The report considered the city of Four Cornerslocated between Lake, Orange, Osceola and Polk counties, and very close to the famous animal kingdom theme park, as the ‘Lightning Capital’, due to the number of episodes of this type that occurred.
The larger the state, the greater the area that harbors electrical storms. Louisiana had 221 lightning strikes per square mile, Mississippi 206, Oklahoma 163 and Arkansas 157.
In contrast, the Pacific Rim states ranked last. Alaska only had 0.18 lightning strikes per square mile. Oregon and Washington 2.5.
The report ends with a summary, by state, of other cities that follow Four Corners, the national leader in 2022 -with 1,200 lightning strikes per square mile- in order of importance. In this sense, the areas that support are: