Two lightning records were broken over the Americas two years ago. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the longest lightning flash ever recorded was about 770 kilometers and stretched across three states in the United States.
The longest lasting flash was observed over South America. It was visible for about 17 seconds.
The longest flash was seen over the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi on April 29, 2020. The flash was about 768 kilometers long, roughly the distance a crow flies between Amsterdam and Salzburg, Austria. The previous record holder was 60 kilometers shorter and was measured over Brazil in October 2018.
Uruguay and Argentina
The longest-lived lightning bolt appeared during a storm that swept through Uruguay and Argentina in June 2020. This was about 0.4 seconds longer than the previous record holder. This flash was measured over Argentina in March 2019.
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While these flashes did not hit the ground – they occurred hundreds of feet high – the World Meteorological Organization stresses the dangers of lightning when it does. “When you hear lightning, it’s time to go somewhere safe,” the World Meteorological Organization said. The organization expects more extreme lightning in the coming years and believes that it will also be able to score this better due to increasingly better measuring equipment.
How does lightning form? Watch it in the video below:
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