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World Record 477-Mile-Long Lightning ‘Megaflash’

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that it had confirmed two new mind-blowing lightning “megaflash” records. These findings came after careful data-checking and rigorous certification processes.

On April 29, 2020, a sprawling mass of strong to severe thunderstorms produced a 477.2-mile-long lightning strike over the southern United States. It stretched from near Houston to southeast Mississippi. The record beats out a 440-mile-long megaflash that occurred over southern Brazil on Halloween of 2018.

Megaflashes dwarf ordinary lightning strikes. As Earth dwellers, we’re accustomed to seeing what’s going on near the ground, including conventional cloud to ground lightning bolts. Hundreds or thousands such strikes might accompany a run-of-the-mill thunderstorm on a summer’s afternoon.

Megaflashes are different. They’re enormous. They snake through regions of high electric field and can travel for hundreds of miles while lasting more than 10 seconds. Since most storm clouds are fewer than 10 miles high, lightning can’t grow terribly long in the vertical direction. But megaflashes have plenty of space to sprawl in the horizontal.

All megaflashes accompany clusters of thunderstorms that often rage overnight and can occupy an area the size of several states, last for hours, and stretch hundreds of miles or more end-to-end. They’re a staple of the spring and early summer across the southern and central United States, and are also common in South America.

Possible Preaching Angle:

This, and other, record-breaking lightning flashes will shrink into insignificance compared to the most significant lightning display seen by the whole world. It will happen on the Day of Judgment prophesied in Scripture. “For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day” (Matt. 24:27, Luke 17:24).

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