FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — The United States no longer holds the world record for longest lightning flash.
That title was snatched by Brazil.
The old record was 199.5 miles which occurred on June 20, 2007 across Oklahoma.
That record was smashed by a single lightning flash that shot across southern Brazil on October 31, 2018.
A @WMO committee confirmed a new world record long lightning flash detected by the #GOES16 lightning mapper. This single lightning megaflash flash covered a horizontal distance of 440.6 mi (about the distance between Boston & Washington DC) across southern Brazil on 10/31/18. pic.twitter.com/KbhhUqLzAs
— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) June 25, 2020
It covered a distance of 440.6 miles, plus or minus five miles or basically the length of Tennessee.
According to the World Meteorological Organization,WMO, the “megaflash” was verified by new satellite lightning imagery technology.
This image captured on Halloween 2018 by the GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper shows the new world record megaflash of the greatest extent for a single lightning flash, designated today by @WMO. https://t.co/hiTxf9DbkI @NOAASatellites pic.twitter.com/5hS6fRImQW
— NOAA NCEI Climate (@NOAANCEIclimate) June 25, 2020
The technology that is used to measure lightning is improving.
BREAKING: The @WMO just announced that @NOAA #satellites helped it confirm two new #WorldRecords for #lightning--the longest single lightning bolt (captured by #GOES16's #GLM above) and the greatest single lightning flash duration! Get the details here: https://t.co/ZHItdC63yZ pic.twitter.com/sfdsNVU4Bh
— NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) June 25, 2020
According to Professor Randall Cerveny, the chief rapporteur of Weather and Climate Extremes for the WMO, “Environmental extremes are living measurements of what nature is capable, as well as scientific progress in being able to make such assessments. It is likely that even great extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves.”
WMO has recognized 2 new world records for a single #lightning #megaflash
Longest distance: 709 km (440.6 miles), #Brazil, 31.10.2018
Longest duration 16.7 seconds, #Argentina, 4.3.2019
DOUBLE the previous records
Verified with new satellite lightning imagery technology pic.twitter.com/DfG9NUrjEl
— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) June 26, 2020
The WMO uses weather-monitoring satellites that are operated by the EU, US and China.
The recent study by the WMO also found a lightning bolt that broke the record for longest duration.
The flash lasted for nearly 17 seconds in March 2019 over northern Argentina.
All of these findings have been published by the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters.