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Indian Monsoon Hurls Almost 37,000 Lightning Bolts

Corrected
  • Barrage played out over 13 hours Wednesday, Vaisala Says
  • Close to 6 million bolts are recorded worldwide every day

India’s monsoon season began with an extraordinary outburst of lightning Wednesday, as almost 37,000 bolts flashed across the sky or slammed into the ground in just 13 hours, the meteorological instrument maker Vaisala Inc. said, citing Indian officials.

Lightning from powerful spring storms that wash across India and neighboring Bangladesh pose a great risk to farmers, said Ron Holle, a Vaisala meteorologist at the company’s lightning center in Tucson, Arizona. The most dangerous storms come in May.

A QuickTake explainer on India’s fickle monsoon

Vaisala’s network tracks about 6 million strikes around the globe each day and about 2 billion annually, Holle said. Other hot spots for lightning include the southern and central U.S., the northern coast of Australia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Columbia, Sumatra, Malaysia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(Company corrects strike figure in third paragraph.)
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