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Record lightning strikes on Sunday

Extreme summer weather saw dramatic displays of cloud-to-ground lightning in Finland Sunday. The strikes were most violent south of Turku.

Salama iski 28.7.2012.
Last weekend saw dramatic lightning displays. Image: Jarmo Vehkakoski

Meteorologists recorded nearly 20,000 lightning strikes on Sunday, with the most powerful lightning displays south of Turku near Kemiö.

“We were just shy of 20,000 lightning strikes in 24 hours, we almost made it to the top ten,” said the Finnish Meteorological Institute, FMI.

Similar displays three years ago

According to the FMI, it is not unusual to pass the 10,000-strike per day mark at some point during the summer. However, lightning storms with more than 20,000 bursts in a day on average occur in Finland every three years.

“Fifteen minutes more and we would have broken the 20,000 mark,” meteorologists added.

After 3am Monday morning, there were an additional 2,200 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. The bursts are measured over the 24-hour period from 3am Finnish time on any given day, which is midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC, or roughly equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time, GMT).

The last time that lightning bursts broke the 20,000 mark was in August 2010, when 24,000 strikes were measured. The highest number of lightning strikes recorded in one day is 40,000.

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