UPDATE: As Mike Smith pointed out: "the high number of strikes in the Upper Mississippi Valley... they had a much worse than normal tornado season in the area and the amount of lightning corresponds to it."
Vaisala, the original lightning detection company that I have profiled before, sent this map showing nearly 310 million lightning strikes on Earth (specifically 309,959,570, they tell me) in the last six months via their Global Lightning Dataset:
The map looks similar to those from NASA's satellite estimates, but because it's only 6 months of data, it doesn't line up perfectly, and these are ground-based, not satellite sensors.
Here's a zoom of the United States. The map shows the density of lightning strikes, with the maximum purple in the Missouri area being 32 strikes per 20 kilometers. You can easily see how mountains (the Rockies & Appalachians) stand out because they have very little lightning. This is because air moving up the mountains from the west drys out, and because the geography disrupts the storms' circulations.
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Two days of rare September severe thunderstorms in Pennsylvania have dropped tornadoes and funnel clouds, and I was able to chase some of them.
There are quite a few notable low pressure systems or "cyclones" worldwide today. One of them, Typhoon Meranti, is the biggest in a while.
On the evening of September 5, 1996, as Hurricane Fran approached the North Carolina coast, I embarked on my first-ever hurricane storm chase trip.
Twenty years ago, Hurricane Fran roared into eastern North Carolina, and I was there -- and I've got the VHS tapes to prove it.
Until yesterday, Hurricane Wilma was the last Hurricane to strike the state of Florida, 11 years ago.
Hurricane Irene caused over $16 billion in damage in 2011. A the 5-year anniversary, I look back on my experiences with the storm.