· ·

Nearly 87 000 lightning strikes detected during ‘once in a decade storm’ in Washington state, U.S.


Up to 86 714 lightning strikes were recorded in the entire Washington state, U.S., on Saturday, May 30, 2020– about 62 percent of the state's yearly lightning average. It occurred during a severe weather event described by the National Weather Service (NWS) as a "once in a decade" storm.

Multiple waves of thunderstorms barreled through the state over the weekend, bringing wind gusts and hail that tore down numerous trees.

In Western Washington, the National Lightning Detection Network registered 15 755 lightning strikes, 4 119 of which struck the ground, while the rest were within the clouds, according to meteorologist Chris Vagasky with Vaisala.

The first wave of thunderstorms hit the Interstate-5, prompting rare Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. Two lightning strikes even caused some trees to explode in Kirkland and Woodinville.

"I could tell it was close because the whole house shook and I could hear what sounded like a crack," a resident said. "Then a piece of wood came flying into our yard."

A second round of intese thunderstorms moved into Central and Eastern Washington Saturday evening, accompanied by wind gusts of 97 to 113 km/h (60 to 70 mph), as well as large hail.

Several trees were downed in Prosser, Union Gap, and Wenatchee, with gusts of 97 km/h (60 mph) reported in Pullman and 93 km/h (58 mph) in Spokane.

Vagasky noted that 86 714 lightning strikes were detected statewide, which is about 62 percent of the state's yearly lightning average. The number was also more than the total lightning the area received in 2006, which was 82 710 strikes.

It was the second year in a row that the state has been pounded by hundreds of thousands of lightning. In 2019, more than 250 000 lightning strikes hit the state.

Vagasky added that Oregon recorded 32 925 strikes — or about 11 percent of the state's annual average. With two states combined, the 119 639 strikes made about 25 percent of the region's yearl average.

"The annual average for Washington and Oregon is 439 635, so 27.2 percent of the annual lightning occurred in just 0.27 percent of the year," he said.

On Sunday, May 31, the NWS Spokane described the storm as a once in a decade storm. "This is a serious event! Something we haven't seen in our area for probably 10 years or longer."

The forecast shows that it will be sunny and cloudy until Thursday, June 2, but there will be chances of rain from Friday night into Saturday, June 5 to 6.

Featured image credit: Eva Seydl/NWS Seattle

If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.


Related articles

Producing content you read on this website takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you value what we do here, select the level of your support and register your account.

Your support makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.

All our supporters can browse the website without ads, allowing much faster speeds and a clean interface. Your comments will be instantly approved and you’ll have a direct line of communication with us from within your account dashboard. You can suggest new features and apps and you’ll be able to use them before they go live.

You can choose the level of your support.

Stay kind, vigilant and ready!

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:


  1. It abundantly clear that lightning strikes have increased around the globe and the reason is not man-made climate change, as mainstream science is claiming. The increase is exclusively, due to the massive increase of cosmic radiation. It is worth mentioning, that mainstream scientists started to acknowledge that lightning is the main cause about most of the wildfires, but of course they still do not acknowledge that lightning is triggered by Cosmic Rays. Lightning strikes have increased enormously in 2019 and records were shattered around the globe. 210,000 lightning strikes were recorded in Sweden in 2019, a six-fold increase on 2017. And, in New Zealand, 300,000 lightning strikes were recorded on Sunday December 8th of 2019, and 872,000 over the entire weekend. It seems that in 2020 the records will be broken again

Leave a reply