A jaw-dropping lightning megaflash that snaked across three states in the southern US just won a world record.
A megaflash is not your standard cloud-to-ground lightning bolt. It’s an enormous electric zigzag that travels from one electrified cloud to the next, almost instantaneously. A big enough thunderstorm system can allow a megaflash to cover hundreds of miles and light the skies for longer than 10 seconds.
That’s what happened over the southern US on April 29, 2020. An enormous bolt of lightning snaked through thunderstorm clouds from just south of Houston to southeastern Mississippi. It stretched 477 miles — equivalent to the distance between New York City and Columbus, Ohio.
On Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organization certified the flash as the furthest-traveling on record. It’s about 37 miles longer than the previous record-holder, which streaked across southern Brazil in October 2018.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES-East satellite captured the lightning bolt, as it lit up skies across the South.