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Longest lightning bolt record: 477 miles over 3 states

Lightning Record
Posted at 8:56 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 20:56:44-05

A bolt of lightning that stretched nearly 500 miles across three states is the new record holder for longest flash.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Monday announced that a single bolt in 2020 stretched for 477 miles across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

A few months later, a lightning megaflash in Uruguay and Argentina lasted 17 seconds, beating the old record for longest time.

Both flashes were cloud-to-cloud so no one was in danger.

They were spotted by NOAA's GOES-16 satellite, CNN reported.

"Environmental extremes are living measurements of the power of nature, as well as scientific progress in being able to make such assessments," said Professor Randall Cerveny, rapporteur of Weather and Climate Extremes for the WMO, according to USA TODAY. "It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves.”

Normally, lightning flashes last less than a second, and they don't stretch more than 10 miles.