Introducing Strike Damage Potential – rapid, automated, global lightning event analysis

Lightning storm over wind farm
Casey McCullar, Head of Lightning
Casey McCullar
Head of Lightning
Published: Nov 16, 2021
Weather & Environment

We all know that lightning is dangerous and "when thunder roars, go indoors," but did you know that not all lightning has the same potential to cause damage? Some lightning strikes are worse than others.

Vaisala is proud to announce today the release of a new product – Strike Damage Potential – which is a leap forward in lightning data usability. This new offering provides immediate information for where lightning is most likely to have caused damage. Mere minutes after people near the event see the flash and hear the boom, Vaisala customers can get near-real-time insights that indicate the relative importance of a strike for immediate investigation, anywhere on Earth.

Two of the biggest impacts lightning can have on the landscape and our infrastructure are starting fires and melting metal.

Vaisala Strike Damage Potential


Strike Damage Potential identifies the type and likelihood of damage, translating it to an easily understood five-point scale. These new insights will help across several key industries:

  • Land management agencies can gain insight to act quickly to prevent the spread of wildfires started by lightning.
  • Electric utilities will be able to see when a high-risk strike might have hit the power lines during intense summer storms.
  • Wind turbine operators conducting post-storm inspections can check the turbines most likely to have been impacted.

One of the most helpful benefits of this new offering is to help focus attention on the areas of most concern. While all cloud pulses and ground strokes are available in the database, this new information groups strokes into a common strike point, narrowing the investigation to a specific point on the map rather than a cluster of lighting strokes. This provides users greater location accuracy and reduces the amount of data to speed up analysis.

Strike Damage Potential  comparison

Scientists talk about long continuing current, where a lightning event lasts longer than is typical and therefore is more likely to cause severe heating that causes fire. Strike Damage Potential employs statistical analysis to indicate probability that continuing current was present.

Vaisala Lightning Exporter screen shot

Because Vaisala Global Lightning Dataset GLD360 detects lighting all over the planet, this new product is also available globally. From Berlin to Bogota, users can have great insight on their area of responsibility during the initial response during a thunderstorm, when conducting after storm response, and aggregating events at the end of the season.

Customers can access Strike Damage Potential information through the existing Lightning Integrator API, which includes performance upgrades to handle larger queries and return results more efficiently. While a speedier response is a great improvement on the back end, users of Vaisala Lightning Exporter will see some improvements right on their screens. With lightning type filters, simple drop-down menus, and easy-to-see color scales, users can get rapid insights that are ready for quick action.

These new insights are available now and ready for customers to evaluate. Please contact us at [email protected] today to see the difference for yourself.

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