Lightning is an incredible supernatural-looking natural phenomenon which has a certain air of mystery about it. Although recordings of the longest, strongest and biggest strikes have been taken over the years, the World Meteorological Organisation believes that there must be more extreme examples that have happened or are happening in nature, but we just haven’t recorded them.
Whilst we could speculate for hours about the most impressive lightning strikes in history, those that have been recorded are still pretty extraordinary. Here are some amazing lightning strike records in history.
The longest lightning boltThe longest lightning bolt in history- i.e. the furthest reported distance from end to end of a bolt- was a bolt that hit Oklahoma in June 2007, covering a remarkable horizontal distance of 321km (200 miles). This means that the bolt reached from almost one side of the state to the other and must’ve been quite the spectacle to see! Prior to this, the highest recording was only 32km long, so this mega-bolt in Oklahoma really has changed the way scientists and meteorologists understood lightning storms.
The longest lightning strikeNot long after Oklahoma, the record books were broken once again, but this time, for the longest lightning strike of all time. During a dramatic storm in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in southern France in 2012, a single strike lasted for an impressive 7.74 seconds, making it the longest reported duration of a continual lightning strike ever. Before this strike, it was believed that lightning couldn’t last longer than one second, so this storm truly shook meteorologists the world over.
The highest-current lightning strikeAll lightning strikes are dangerous and carry an extremely high current, however, the highest-current lightning bolt recorded was at a whopping 300,000 amps, and the highest estimated voltage was one billion volts. These monster-bolts tend to occur during positive cloud-to-ground lightning, yet, if you want to see some truly powerful lightning strikes, you’d have to go up into space. In 2009, the Cassini Spacecraft recorded super bolts on Saturn and Jupiter, which were 100 times brighter and up to 10,000 times more powerful than lightning on Earth.
The most lightning-struck locationIf you want to see an epic display of Mother Nature, you should visit Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. This bay location on the Caribbean experiences an incredible 232.52 lightning flashes per square kilometre every year and storms happen almost nightly. The warm air off the lake meets with cool winds from the Andes, setting off an endless storm which is known as Catatumbo Lightning. Storms have been used by ships for navigation for centuries, and nowadays, tourists can even see the storms on local tour boats.
The most lightning strikes survivedWhen you think about being struck by lightning, you probably think that that’s it for you. Well, in most cases that is true, however, Roy Cleveland Sullivan, a park ranger in Virginia, defied the odds. He was struck by lightning an extraordinary seven times and survived every single strike. He earned the nickname ‘Human Lightning Rod’ and still holds the record to this day.
Here at Rodells, although we marvel at the incredible phenomenon that is lightning, we also understand its powerful and unforgiving nature. For this reason, we’re passionate about protecting our local community here in St Albans, as well as the wider nation, by using our quality lightning protection services. To find out more, get in touch with us today.