Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of Beyond The Forecast!
We are no strangers to thunderstorms and the lightning they produce in Virginia. In fact, Vaisala said the Commonwealth was struck by lightning about 2.7 million times during 2022, per their annual report.
That might sound like a lot, but we’re actually middle-of-the-road in the United States. Vaisala’s report revealed that Texas was the state with the most lightning. The Lone Star State got ten times more bolts than Virginia did: about 27.7 million lightning strikes.
Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi round out the top five. Virginia ranked 25th out of the fifty states plus Washington, D.C.
Vaisala’s report also pinpointed the “lightning capital” for each state. This is defined as the city or town with the highest lightning density, which is the number of lightning strikes per square kilometer.
Virginia’s lightning capital is in our forecast area! Vaisala reports a lightning density of 169 strikes/km² in Patrick Springs.
In case you’re wondering, Vaisala said Four Corners, FL is the lightning capital of the U.S. with a lightning density of 474 strikes/km². Some other communities with high lightning density include Greensburg, LA, Ariel, MS, and Homeland, GA.
So you know how much lightning we got last year in the Commonwealth, now we need to prepare you for the next time lightning threatens the region.
As the old saying goes, “when thunder roars, head indoors.” Once you’ve made it inside, it’s a good idea to stay away from windows and doors. We also suggest avoiding electronics plugged into the wall. Below you can see some indoor lightning safety tips.
A car is the next best option if you can’t find a sturdy structure to get into. You certainly want to avoid open fields and higher altitudes when a thunderstorm moves in.
Here are some outdoor lightning safety tips.
It’s unlikely we’ll have much if any, lightning this week, but the next time thunderstorms are possible, we will certainly let you know!
Switching gears to this week’s forecast, we’re enjoying a few dry, comfortable days in a row before our next cold front. Meteorologist Chris Michaels is tracking rain, wind, and snow in our daily forecast article.
You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Southside, the Highlands, or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!
In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:
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– Justin McKee