Two extreme lightning bolts have broken records for duration and distance.
A lightning bolt that lit up the sky over Argentina on March 4, 2019 lasted 16.73 seconds, which is more than double the previous record, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s announcement Thursday.
A different lightning strike on October 31, 2018 set the new record for duration. It stretched for more than 440 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, through part of Brazil and into Argentina, the organization said.
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“These are extraordinary records of unique lightning events. Environmental extremes are living measurements of what nature is capable of, as well as scientific progress in making such assessments. It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we can observe them as lightning detection technology improves, “Randall Cerveny, chief rapporteur for Weather and Climate Extremes for WMO, said in a statement.
WMO said the previous record for longest detected distance for a single lightning strike was 199.5 miles on June 20, 2007, in the state of Oklahoma.
For duration, the previous record was for a single lightning bolt lasting continuously for 7.74 seconds in Au. 30, 2012, on Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in France.
“This will provide valuable information for setting limits to the scale of lightning strikes, including megaflashes, for engineering, safety and scientific reasons,” Cerveny said.
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The lightning strikes unfortunately strike and take several lives around the world each year. Experts say that if the time between flash and thunder is less than 30 seconds, it is better to enter for security.