World: Longest Distance Lightning

World: Longest Distance Lightning

Record Value 768 ± 8 km (477.2 ± 5 mi)
Date of Record (DMY) 14:32:39.026 UTC - 14:32:47.568 UTC on 29/4 (April)/2020
Length of Record 2018-present
Instrumentation Geostationary Lightning Mapper on Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-16/17)
Geospatial Location Crossing between the states of Mississippi and Texas in the United States [30.83°N;, 88.84°W; to 28.69°S; 92.42°W; ]


WMO Evaluation Panel of experts in charge of global weather and climate extremes within the WMO Commission for Climatology (CCl) consisted of the following experts: Michael J. Peterson (USA), Timothy J. Lang (USA), Timothy Logan (USA), Cheong Wee Kiong (Singapore), Morne Gijben (South Africa), Ron Holle (USA) Ivana Kolmasova (Czechia), Martino Marisaldi (Norway), Joan Montanya (Spain), Sunil D. Pawar (India), Daile Zhang (USA), Manola Brunet (Spain & UK), Randall S. Cerveny (USA) .


The longest-distance candidate flash was observed to extend over a 768 km (477 mi.) distance between Texas and Mississippi on 29 April 2020 starting at 14:32:39.016 UTC. This megaflash was produced by an MCS that originated over the Great Plains and moved southward before migrating offshore over the Gulf of Mexico. The megaflash occurred after the storm had moved offshore and it extended throughout the trailing stratiform region stretching along the Gulf Coast between Texas and Mississippi. Its 768 km (477 miles) extent mapped by GLM would be 59 km (37 miles) greater than the previous flash distance record. The top distance case happened to occur completely within the domains of the GLM instruments on both GOES-16 and 17 satellites, allowing each GLM to provide an independent measurement of flash size. Even though the GOES-17 GLM viewed the flash near the edge of its field of view where pixels are larger and triggering thresholds are particularly high, it still reported the same flash extent as the GOES-16 GLM to within 1 km. The slightly smaller distance (768 km from GOES-17) was accepted as the reported value. The 768 km flash was also partially mapped from the ground by a Lightning Mapping Array centered in Houston, Texas (HLMA).

Previous record

673.25 kilometers (41825 mi), 08:40:23 UTC 31/10 (October)/2018 in State of Rio Grande Do Sul Brazil

Locator Map (Courtesy of AGU)