May 4, 2017 – GOES-16’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) captured this electrifying imagery of the lightning associated with the recent severe weather over the Mississippi Valley and southern Plains this past weekend. (The animation begins at approximately noon on Friday, April 28, 2017, and ends at midnight on Saturday, April, 29.)
According to a variety of media reports, the storms caused the deaths of at least 13 people, produced widespread heavy rain resulting in flash floods, high winds that down trees and left thousands without power, a late-season blizzard in Kansas, and several tornadoes.
GLM observes total lightning, including in-cloud and cloud to ground lightning, and will continually observe lightning flashes day and night across the Western Hemisphere. Of particular note in this animation is the horizontal propagation of lightning flashes occurring behind the line of intense storms. Rapid increases of lightning are a signal that a storm is strengthening and could become more dangerous. GLM, in concert with other forecaster tools, will help provide more accurate and earlier warnings of developing severe storms and give communities more time to prepare for impending severe weather.
The animation is courtesy of Lockheed Martin, which built the GLM. To learn more about the instrument and how it will improve the forecasting of dangerous weather, go to goo.gl/MkesoS