Is there a site that tracks lightning strikes at a local level in real-time?

Google results for "lightning tracker" yield several sites, but none do this.

It seems easy enough to set up. Have volunteers report:

  • their location

  • the time they saw the strike

  • the direction of the strike, to the nearest 45 degree (eg, "southwest" or "east")

  • the delay between the lightning and the thunder (ie, the distance in fifths of a mile)

  • optional: description of the lightning strike

Of course, portions of the report could be automated (eg, geolocated tweets).

It would then be easy to map lightning strikes at a given time, watch a storm move, etc, down to the several-hundred-feet level.

Since this seems easy to do, I'm sure someone has done it, no?

  • $\begingroup$ Why not just use an existing automated system instead of relying on highly fallible humans? Not sure there's global coverage with such systems, but there seems to be at least an entire continent covered... $\endgroup$ – Kyle Oman Jul 15 '13 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ Can you zoom to a local level on this map? (doesn't seem possible). And it hasn't been updated in 15 minutes? I'm talking about something minute-to-minute here. $\endgroup$ – barrycarter Jul 15 '13 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ But to answer your question - no, nobody has done this kind of thing. Why? Because ob the obvious reasons @Kyle stated: Why should you deploy a lot of volunteers, when the automated system has good accuracy (the Siemens system deployed in Germany claims to have a precision of 200 m) and few seconds reaction time (also, their statement). Just to clarify - these precision specs cost money, of course - and it seems to be the "ask us when you're interested" kind of money ;) $\endgroup$ – Wojciech Morawiec Jul 15 '13 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ It's a good question. Aircraft can carry storm-scopes, and possibly there is such a thing at local weather broadcasters. Also look here. $\endgroup$ – Mike Dunlavey Jul 16 '13 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ this satellite map for strikes during the last hour has even a color scale intellicast.com/Storm/Severe/Lightning.aspx $\endgroup$ – anna v Jul 16 '13 at 13:00

OK, I googled "google maps lightning" (sort of obvious in retrospect), and found:


which is pretty much exactly what I was looking for. It appears that:


may do this also, but I hate Windows too much to see if it works (any volunteers)? It's 2007 date suggests it may no longer be working.


What you want is access to the National Lightning Detection Network. As far as I know, the service is not free. There are also multiple other for-fee access to lightning data. I believe Accuweather offers this as does Allison House. The Allison House data will integrate into Radar Scope and GRLevelX to display lightning data with level 2/3 radar and other meteorological information.


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