Cool map of live lightning strikes worldwide

This Web site, Blitzortung.org, tracks live lightning strikes, worldwide, and plots them online in real-time.

It’s totally cool.

If you read through the site, you’ll find out how they do it. People basically host a small kit, for free (and it’s worth only a couple hundred bucks), that is able to tell if lightning has struck up to several thousand miles away.

Yep, several thousands miles. I know.

Here’s an animated gif of the site, showing some live strikes over the US a few minutes ago:

live-lightning-strikes-2

But what’s really cool is to set it so that it shows you WHERE the lightning strikes were detected. You’ll see the distance is enormous — the lines track back to the various sensors that recognized the strikes. I mean, a sensor in Connecticut is seeing a strike in Cuba:

live-lightning-strikesYou can go check out the maps for yourself. Here’s the US, and here’s Europe.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • KathleenKennettiel

    my buddy’s
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  • The_Fixer

    Golf courses are to lighting as trailer parks are to tornadoes.

    Of course, golfers are standing in a wide-open field with a metal stick in their hands, so it’s not that much of a mystery as to why it happens.

  • The_Fixer

    Back when I was participating in the Amateur Radio weather spotting program as a radio operator, there was one insurance adjuster that used to listen to our operations on his scanner so he knew if his claimants were trying to scam him :)

    I knew this because he came into our shop (I was doing electronics repair at the time) with an item that was claimed to be lightning damaged. The guy making the claim insisted that it was “totaled”, and he came to us to get a second opinion. We got to talking, and I told him of my hobby activities at the local NWS office. That’s when he told me that it made sense that my voice sounded familiar, he had been listening to me on his scanner when I was taking storm reports.

  • Hue-Man

    Today 11:39 AM EDT. “Four men have been injured by a lightning strike on a golf course north
    of Toronto, with one man in critical condition, police say.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/lightning-injures-4-on-golf-course-north-of-toronto-1.2678309

  • The_Fixer

    Mostly only at night. That’s because of the ionosphere. A particular layer of the ionosphere is charged by solar radiation, which causes it to absorb lower-frequency radio waves during the daytime. At night, the sun goes away and the ionosphere reflects and bounces the radio waves back to earth, often thousands of miles away.

    Wikipedia has a detailed article about how the ionosphere affects radio propagation, for those who are interested. It’s geeky stuff, so not everyone will be interested.

  • http://frankdisalleisadummy.wordpress.com/ Get Chutney Love

    If you want to see if there are any local lightning strikes, tune an AM radio to a distant station.

    An AM radio makes an excellent lightning detector. During a thunderstorm you
    can listen in on individual lightning bolts on your AM radio. Tune the radio to a
    station and each crackling sound that you hear is from the radio waves emitted by
    a lightning bolt. You will notice that you hear the static crackle at the same
    moment you see a flash of lightning. This is because radio waves and visible
    light both travel at the speed of light. The sound of thunder travels at the speed
    of sound (about 1,000 feet per second) and thus lags behind the flash of light (or
    AM crackle)*. You will notice that there will be some lightning bolts that you
    detect that are not seen. These are lightning bolts that are high up in the
    thunderstorm cloud or even in another thunderstorm cell.

    I remember seeing heat lightning on the west coast of the Philippines a decade ago. It lit up everything because it was at night and the air was so clear.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s amazing it can travel that far, or be detected that far away.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually, that’s around the time I took the two gifs above, around 7pm Eastern last night. You can see the storms on the map.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh that’s really funny.

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  • just_AC

    A while back, I knew this or another site existed. It was getting funding from the insurance companies. They were able to verify that there actually was a lightning strike in your area when you pursued a claim against them!

  • KathleenKennettiel

    my Aunty Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by
    working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I would have liked to see that about eight hours ago. Minneapolis would have been lit up like a Christmas tree.

  • The_Fixer

    Actually, that’s not too far from wrong. These lightning detectors are actually radio receivers tuned to a band well below the A.M. broadcast band and equipped with a directional detection system.

    Lightning is extremely long wavelength electrical pulses. Lightning is not exactly a clean radio signal, it creates a large number of byproducts called harmonics (multiples of the initial generated signal), which is what you hear on an AM broadcast radio.

    I could go on and on about this because there’s a lot to it, but will spare everyone here (you can thank me later). The only thing most people need to know about lightning is to not get hit by it ;)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL

  • RobT

    It’s probably some dude with an AM radio and whenever he here’s static… :-)

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