National Weather Service develops database to track lightning climatology

The National Weather Service has developed a database to track lightning climatology in our region and across the country.

Posted: May 20, 2020 5:50 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Lightning is a grave concern each summer to our way of life in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
The National Weather Service office in Medford has created a lightning database that shows the lightning climatology for our region and across the country. The database can aid not only fire crews but also you and your family for when you make your summer plans to know when and where lighting is more common on average.

In the last 30 years, 90 percent of acres burned by wildfires were caused by lightning. "This means big safety, health and economic impacts, so we're very interested in studying lightning patterns. Better understanding it, and we wanted to visualize when and where lightning occurred most in our forecast area." Noel Keene is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Medford. He helped build a nationwide database for lightning in each county, fire zone and within 10 miles of each airport. "Frequency will tell someone how common at least one cloud-to-ground lightning flash is for that one hour and week of the year while totals will tell someone the potential for big lightning events during those hours and weeks of the year," says Keene.

For much of our region, there are two peaks for lightning frequency through the year, one in late spring and the other in July and August. "The summer is where you can really get your big, big lightning events across our forecast area," explains Keene.

This information can help you as you plan hiking or camping trips. It can also help fire crews as they prepare for fire season. "If these agencies know ahead of time what hour and what weeks of the year lightning is most or least likely, I think they can make better decisions. Especially, when it comes to the fact that the bulk of our lightning occurs when vegetation is driest," says Keene.

The National Weather Service will be using the lightning data in the months ahead to study nighttime thunderstorms and why some lightning events trigger more fires than others.

Click the link to check out the lightning database for yourself.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 39°
Brookings
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Crater Lake
Scattered Clouds
27° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 27°
Grants Pass
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Klamath Falls
Scattered Clouds
27° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 27°
Few Monday showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events