How to Observe Local Lightning Strikes As They Happen
Have you ever wished for a way to observe lightning strike frequency in order to help gauge the intensity of thunderstorms? There is a great site that will help you do just that.
LightningMaps.org is a fantastic 'open-source' developed site that, though still in 'beta' testing, tracks lightning strikes almost as they happen. The site is quite intuitive and easy to learn, but the basics are as follows:
- New strikes show up as a yellow dot with a red ring around it.
- Older strikes are yellow, and as time passes, the color darkens to a brown dot, so that it's easy to tell which are the newest strikes.
- If 'zoomed' in close enough, new strikes show a semi-opaque circle moving outward from the center. This is the travel of the thunder (at the speed of sound of course) outward from the strike.
- In the top left corner of the map, there is an "i" button to access helpful information about what you are seeing, as well as numbers indicating the number of strikes occurring per minute, and the current delay between an actual strike and the time it is indicated on the map.
LightningMaps is a wonderful site for those interested in weather, and is fascinating to watch the summer storm strikes as they happen.