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WMO announces new record for longest single lightning strike

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says new record stretched over 400 miles!
Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 4:53 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2022 at 5:20 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced Tuesday that there is a new record for the single longest lightning flash. The new record was claimed by a strong thunderstorm complex that moved over the Gulf Coast between Texas and Mississippi on April 29th, 2020. The single lightning flash covered a horizontal distance of 477 miles!

WMO announced the new record of 477 miles on Tuesday from a thunderstorm on 4/29/20.
WMO announced the new record of 477 miles on Tuesday from a thunderstorm on 4/29/20.(WMO)
Storm that produced 477 mile long lightning flash
Storm that produced 477 mile long lightning flash(WMO)

The storm that produced the new record lightning flash was a mesoscale convective system (MCS), which is a group of thunderstorms that form a system. These type of storm systems are common in this part of the United States during the spring and summer months.

According to the WMO press released issued Tuesday, “noted lightning specialist and 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 only lightning-safe locations are substantial buildings that have wiring and plumbing; not structures such as at a beach or bus stop. The second reliably safe location is inside a fully enclosed metal-topped vehicle; not dune buggies or motorcycles. If lightning is within 10 km as found with reliable lightning data, go to the lightning safe building or vehicle. As these extreme cases show, lightning can arrive within seconds over a long distance, but they are embedded within larger thunderstorms, so be aware.”

There was also a new lighting record for longest lasting single flash. This happened with a thunderstorm complex between Uruguay and Argentina June 18th, 2020. The single lightning flash last 17 seconds!

You can see the full press release here: WMO Certifies Two New Lightning Records

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