Lightning Flash 440 Miles Long in Brazil Sets World Record

A new world record lightning strike of 440 miles has been confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, according to a Thursday announcement.

The “megaflash” traveled that distance over parts of southern Brazil on Oct. 31, 2018, the WMO said. This is equivalent to the distance between Washington, DC, and Boston.

In addition to the longest flash in terms of distance, a world record for longest lightning strike in terms of time was also announced: A single flash lasted 16.73 seconds over northern Argentina on March 4, 2019.

“These are extraordinary records from single lightning flash events,” said Arizona State University professor Randall Cerveny, chief rapporteur of Weather and Climate Extremes for the WMO, in a statement. “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 greater extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves.”

The record “megaflashes” were detected with help from lightning detection equipment onboard satellites in orbit around the Earth.

A megaflash is defined as horizontal lightning discharges that reach hundreds of kilometers in length.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice