Longest Flash Of Lightning Bolt Record 477 Miles Over 3 States

Longest lightning bolt record: 477 miles over 3 states

The world record for longest flash of lightning was set by a bolt of lightning that spanned nearly 500 miles across three states.

On April 29, 2020, a single flash of lightning of approximately 477 miles of horizontal distance swept across Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, according to the World Meteorological Organization. It beat the previous record of 440.6 miles (709 kilometers) set in Brazil in 2018.

While it broke the distance record, it failed to break the longevity record. That honor went to a megaflash in South America that lasted more than 17 seconds, breaking the record for duration. One lightning flash in Uruguay and northern Argentina in 2020 lasted 17.1 seconds, breaking the previous record of 16.7 seconds.

Randall Cerveny, the chief of records confirmation for the meteorological organization, said that lightning seldom extends more than 10 miles and lasts less than a second. The two lightning flashes are absolutely unique, said Cerveny. Satellite tracking technology allowed researchers to spot and confirm these records that are not linked to climate change. Both regions are at a high risk of intense storms that produce what are known as “megaflashes”.

Since both were cloud-to-cloud, he said, there was no danger to anyone.

In the past, ground-based Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) networks were used to record the duration and extent of lightning flashes. But the technology could only detect lightning up to a certain magnitude.

Recent technological advances have enabled lightning scientists to collect a larger scale of lightning data, such as megaflash lightning records, by using Geostationary Lightning Mappers (GLMs) on satellites orbiting in space.

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