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Earth Networks, operators of the world’s largest lightning detection network, has released its 2019 Lightning Report. During all of 2019, the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) detected 112,310,896 total lightning strikes within the continental US, a modest 1 percent increase from 2018. Over 19 million of these strikes were cloud-to-ground, representing 16.9 percent of all lightning activity.

While Florida had the second highest lightning density as a state, it and the rest of the Gulf Coast saw less lightning activity than normal. On average, the Gulf Coast experienced fifteen less days with thunderstorm activity than the seven-year average. Weather patterns encouraged a more active storm track in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, suppressing thunderstorm development and fronts from moving south.

The research uncovered several additional findings, including:

  • Texas led all states with just over 16 million strikes. Pecos County and Brewster County in Texas were among the top five counties in the country with the most lightning.
  • Kansas represented the state with the highest flash density, a measure of lightning per square mile.
  • Over 44,000 of Earth Networks’ proprietary Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts were issued throughout the country, with a high concentration located within tornadic areas of the Midwest.

“2019 was a very active year for the central US both in terms of lightning and severe weather, particularly in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma which had large increases in lightning strikes compared to 2018,” said Michael Stock, Principal Lightning Scientist at Earth Networks. “In contrast, the below average lightning trend in Florida continued throughout the 2nd half of the year, resulting in 30 percent less lightning compared to last year. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues in 2020, or if 2019 was an exceptional year.”

Read the report.

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