WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Lighting Strikes, you show the lighting strikes on the weather report. Services like Strikenet also show these strikes. Do these show every Lighting strike or what per cent?

Posted June 12, 2007 9:08 a.m. EDT

MIKE MOSS SAYS:    John,    There are two lightning detection networks that cover the United States. Both use a system of detectors that receive electromagnetic signals that emanate from lightning strikes and can be timed and triangulated to estimate to a high degree of accuracy the location of each strike, and are also capable of analyzing the signal to determine the amplitude (intensity) and polarity (positive or negative) of the strikes. The companies report a detection efficiency of approximately 90-95%, meaning that about 5-10% of strikes, on average, go undetected. While we have a license allowing us to display near-realtime strike data on the air in our WeatherCasts, we are not allowed to plot the data for viewing on our web site. Both companies do, however, provide a national-scale web display of recent but time-delayed lightning strike data. You can view those maps at