The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite managed to capture a record-breaking “megaflash” lightning strike over the skies of Brazil in 2018. That very same lightning bolt has now been recognized as the longest lightning bolt ever recorded by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The lightning bolt in question stretched a distance of 709 kilometres across parts of southern Brazil on 31 October 2018, which is equivalent to the distance between London and the border of Switzerland near Basel, according to WMO.
The previous record was held by a 2007 lightning strike in Oklahoma that measured 321 kilometres in length.
WMO also managed to certify another record-breaking event, this time relating to the greatest duration for a flash, lasting 16.73 seconds during a storm in Argentina.
“These are extraordinary records from single lightning flash events,” Randall Cerveny, the chief rapporteur of weather and climate extremes for the WMO, said in a statement.
“Environmental extremes are living measurements of what nature is capable, as well as scientific progress in being able to make such assessments. It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves,” Cerveny added.