WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Is there a website that shows when and where lighting strikes occur?

Posted August 28, 2007

And a similar question from Jack - "Will we ever have the ability to see lightning strikes that have taken place on the WRAL web site as we do on TV?"

MIKE MOSS SAYS:     Alan and Jack,   We would absolutely love to have near real-time lightning strike graphics on our web pages as a complement to our Doppler 5000 radar coverage. However, unlike the images from our own radar, and the radar and satellite imagery that are provided by government-owned equipment and displayed at many online sites in close to real-time, the lightning detection networks covering the United States are owned by private, for-profit companies. For that reason, the ability to for outside parties to display the data on the web is highly restricted, as the companies would otherwise not be able to charge fee-paying customers for access to real-time lightning data. The strike data you see us display on TV is nearly real-time, but of course we pay a substantial fee to use that data and because it is only available on-air it does not compete directly with web-based displays that allow the user to choose the time and place that they view the data.

There are some weather web sites that charge a monthly fee for access that include the ability to see regional lightning data with a fairly short delay (less delay and closer zoom = higher cost), while the two companies that own the detector networks make national maps with lightning data that is delayed by about 15-45 minutes available on their web sites. Here are those addresses:

http://www.uspln.com/   (click the image at the upper right)

https://thunderstorm.vaisala.com/tux/jsp/explorer/explorer.jsp

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