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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Today I'm pleased to announce a new suite of world radar maps and advisories from the national weather services of several countries on AccuWeather.com.
There's much ado this week about the polar vortex visiting the U.S. this week, but it wasn't long ago that we set over 7,800 cold records in July.
I caught an awesome lightning storm on the Dropcam at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions' office in downtown Wichita Wednesday night.
Hurricane Arthur set a number of records and caused damage across eastern North Carolina. View the storm through maps, webcams and more.
Meteorologically, Hurricane Arthur is a beautiful storm -- almost a textbook example of a hurricane, especially when the right color palettes are applied.
What other Tropical Storms have threatened the U.S. on July 4th, or the days leading up to it? Very few since 1980. Here's a list.