Earth Networks Provides First-Ever Continuous Lightning Track Coverage of Major Hurricane

Total Lightning Network Provides New Insight by Monitoring Significant Increase in Eyewall Lightning Rate Prior to 107 mph Wind Gust at Turks and Caicos

Germantown, MD – August 25, 2011 – As Hurricane Irene approaches the East Coast of the U.S. this week, Earth NetworksSM, the owner and operator of WeatherBug®, is actively tracking its path by providing an early look into Irenel’s total lightning activity.  For the first time there is an established network in place to continuously monitor total lightning activity for the entire projected track of the hurricane through the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network.

The Earth Networks Total Lightning Network is a dense, integrated network of broadband lightning sensors that monitor activity in real-time, making it possible to show a connection between lightning and the increasing strength of a hurricane. In the past, hurricane researchers have examined lightning activity within hurricanes by looking at ground flashes or unusually large cloud flashes, or by using satellite data that can only provide limited information with each brief overpass. While researchers have long suggested that the lightning rate within the hurricane eyewall is a leading indicator of hurricane strength, it has been difficult to validate with detailed data if and how the connection exists.

The five-hour time lapse shows lightning strokes detected by the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network. The time lapse shows a flare-up of lightning frequency around the eye as the storm approaches the Bahamas.

Earth Networks-WeatherBug meteorologists consider the availability of continuous lightning coverage for a hurricane to be a technological breakthrough and continuous flash data is already beginning to provide new insight into lightning activity during a major hurricane.

“We are extremely pleased to have the ability to provide a view of total lightning during Hurricane Irene, and we invite professionals and researchers to contact us for data access and collaboration on these new and exciting developments,” says Earth Networks CEO Bob Marshall. “We will be making this information available to researchers through our nonprofit entity, the Earth Networks Foundation for Environmental Research (ENFER).”

Images of Irene and its associated lightning activity are made possible through StreamerRT, an advanced web-based platform that provides professionals responsible for making weather-related decisions with precise detail into the current conditions of hurricanes, tropical storms and severe weather events. The platform enables the selection of parameters for National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast tracks, hurricane cones, wind swaths and forecast model tracks for optimal storm visualization and tracking.

Earth Networks-WeatherBug meteorologists are watching conditions closely and posting frequent updates at, via Twitter (!/weatherbug), and Facebook (

Note for the Media: Earth Networks’ Chief Meteorologist Mark Hoekzema and the entire meteorology team are available 24/7 to provide expert commentary and information on current conditions; impact analysis and recommendations on public safety preparations for the potentially devastating effects of the storms. Storm visualizations and graphics from StreamerRT, the company’s enterprise weather visualization and tracking tool, are available upon request. Members of the media are invited to contact the team

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