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Vaisala publishes 2023 Annual Lightning Report

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Energy Global,

Vaisala, a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements, has published its 2023 Annual Lightning Report. Now in its seventh year, the Vaisala Xweather annual lightning report reveals a total of 242 101 157 in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning events in the continental US in 2023 and 2 102 170 206 lightning events worldwide.

Vaisala publishes 2023 Annual Lightning Report

“2023 set a record for the number of billion-dollar weather disasters in the US. By year-end, 19 of the 25 events with losses exceeding US$1 billion were attributed to severe storms. Severe weather can also be life-threatening, especially without the right safety measures in place,” said Samuli Hänninen, Head of Vaisala Xweather.

“Lightning triggers wildfires, disrupts power, impacts businesses, and poses a significant hazard to life and property. Our 2023 annual lightning report focuses on the risks to wind farms and metropolitan areas. Early warning systems with severe weather forecasting and real-time lightning alerts play an important role in protecting people, businesses, and infrastructure from thunderstorms,” he continued.

The 2023 Annual Lightning Report highlights:

  • Wind farms at great risk of lightning damage: A first-of-its-kind analysis found a total of 77 494 lightning strokes at or near 1500 wind farms in the US in 2023. A wind farm in Hansford County, Texas, and another straddling Blaine and Custer Counties, Oklahoma, saw more than 1000 strokes each.
    • In Oklahoma, a wind farm in Pushmataha Country saw an average of 14.4 lightning strokes per turbine in 2023, followed by a wind farm in Freeborn County, Minnesota, with 12 lightning strokes per turbine. In total, three wind farms received more than 10 cloud-to-ground lightning strokes per turbine on average. On the flip-side, one-third of US wind farms saw no lightning strikes at all in 2023.
    • Experts estimate that lightning damage costs the industry more than US$100 million annually and accounts for 60% of blade losses and almost 20% of operational losses overall.
  • The 2023 lightning capitals of the US: With 42 388 860 lightning events in total, Texas had more lightning than any other state in 2023. When measuring lightning density, however, Florida takes the number one spot with 112.6 lightning events per square kilometre. The Vaisala Xweather Annual Lightning Report ranks all 50 states plus Washington D.C. by total lightning count and lightning density.

The data comes from the Vaisala U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), the longest continuously operating and most scientifically validated lightning detection network in the world, and the Vaisala Global Lightning Dataset (GLD360). These two networks detect and pinpoint the location of in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning events 24 hours a day. Together, they detect 99.9% of thunderstorms worldwide, recording more than 2 billion lightning events every year.



For more news and technical articles from the global renewable industry, read the latest issue of Energy Global magazine.

Energy Global's Winter 2023 issue

The Winter 2023 issue of Energy Global hosts an array of technical articles weather analysis, geothermal solutions, energy storage technology, and more. This issue also features a regional report looking at the future of renewables in North America, and a report from Théodore Reed-Martin, Editorial Assistant, Energy Global, on how Iceland utilises its unique geology for renewable energy.

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