France Brought to Knees by Extreme Weather

Lightning storms can seem beautiful, exciting and amazing with electricity crackling through the skies, but residents in France were not amused at all this past Friday and weekend (July 26-28).

Credit: Azmil77 via Flickr

Credit: Azmil77 via Flickr

The thunderstorm in France has reportedly knocked out power to 220,000 homes as well as causing a decent amount of injuries and fatalities. Some of these fatalities were due to the negligence of swimmers, who decided to ignore signs and red safety flags and thus ended up not being able to fight the current that was swelling from the high winds of the storm, and drowning. In the northern part of France, around Dieppe, the powerful storm was having a unique effect, creating a “mini-tornado”. On the flip side of the country, there was also a storm happening, but this storm consisted of immense heat, instead of high winds and lighting, with temperatures going as high as 40ºC. Take a look as our network tracks the storm on its way to Paris.

Credit: ComputerHotline via Flickr

Credit: ComputerHotline via Flickr

To determine the location and time of the storm, we examined lightning strike data from the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (the largest in the world for detecting both ground strikes as well as in-cloud lightning strikes that often precede severe weather). Our network detected lightning building up during the time before the storm and constantly tracked it as the storm was approaching and passing this area of France. Please remember to be careful when outside and use WeatherBug with Spark to monitor dangerous lightning near you.

Here’s the timeline of events as we captured it below (you’ll see in-cloud lightning in magenta and cloud-to-ground lightning in yellow):

Earth Networks DTAs issued ~ 250km SW of Paris --- 3:00am CET

Earth Networks DTAs issued ~ 250km SW of Paris — 3:00am CET

Multiple storm cells forming. Severe storm cell moving at 85km/h --- 3:00am CET

Multiple storm cells forming. Severe storm cell moving at 85km/h — 3:00am CET

Lightning activity building --- 3:30am CET

Lightning activity building — 3:30am CET

Earth Networks DTAs issued south of Paris. Path of storm cells highlighted --- 4:15am CET

Earth Networks DTAs issued south of Paris. Path of storm cells highlighted — 4:15am CET

Storm reaches Paris. Heavy IC/CG lightning in the city --- 6:00am CET

Storm reaches Paris. Heavy IC/CG lightning in the city — 6:00am CET

Lightning activity shifts North, clear of Paris --- 8:00am CET

Lightning activity shifts North, clear of Paris — 8:00am CET

All total lightning detected issued for severe weather event

All total lightning detected issued for severe weather event

Interesting Fact: Contrary to popular belief, lightning can in fact strike the same spot twice. It can also strike when blue skies are overhead.

Deadly lightning strikes may be more common than you might think. If you or loved ones are often outdoors, please download WeatherBug with Spark. The application is free and it can warn you of lightning dangers around you:

WeatherBug iPhone Application

WeatherBug Android Application

 

If you would like more information about Lightning and how to stay safe, please check out our other article: Lightning Safety 101 – Knowing Before is Half the Battle

 

If you’re responsible for safety at a golf club, school or other organization, check below for more information on our alerting solutions:

WeatherBug for Schools

WeatherBug for Club Safety

WeatherBug for Broadcast

 

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