Flash Flooding in Turkey Injures Six People in Ankara

  • May 15, 2018

At any given moment, there are 2,000 thunderstorms in progress. The most dangerous of these storms bring more than just lightning. Recent flash flooding in Turkey is a powerful example of what else can go wrong.

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, severe thunderstorms triggered flash flooding in Turkey that injured six people. Flash floodwaters ripped through the capital of Ankara, which is home to over 4.5 million residents. According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, the flash flooding injured six people.

The dangerous weather conditions stranded drivers in feet of floodwater and swept vehicles down streets. Turkey’s labor and social security minister said the floods damaged 160 cars and 25 businesses. Ankara Mayor Mustafa Tuna remarked that the flash flooding in Turkey was “a natural disaster like never before.”

A Turkish official explained that they expected the rain to last for three hours on Saturday. Instead, it fell in nine minutes.

Keep reading to learn how our Earth Networks Total Lightning Network generated advanced alerts during the flash flooding in Turkey.

Event Investigation

After hearing of this alarming event, the Earth Networks Meteorological team scoured our historical lightning data to make sense of the destructive event.

From 00 UTC on Saturday, May 5, 2018, to 00 UTC on Sunday, May 6, 2018, over the region of Latitude 38 to 41 and Longitude 31 to 33, the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network detected 33,118 pulses. This is a significant amount of lightning for a 24-hour period.

In the figure below, you can see both purple and yellow lightning icons. The purple strikes indicate in-cloud lightning discharges while the yellow strikes indicate cloud-to-ground discharges.

Our lightning network generated numerous cell tracks and identified two intense cells with flash rates of 20/minute or greater. These cells triggered two Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts (DTAs). You can see these alerts as purple polygons in the figures below.

The first one occurred at 10:03 UTC near Osmancik, Turkey. An area of storms impacted southern Turkey during the afternoon hours. A particularly potent storm, with a flash rate of 20.67/min, triggered this DTA, which lasted until 10:48 UTC. You can see this in the figure below.

The second DTA occurred to the north at 11:03 UTC. This DTA happened near Kazan, Turkey and latest until 11:48 UTC. This was a separate thunderstorm which ramped up to a flash rate of 20/min.

What Conditions Do Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts Cover?

DTAs alert businesses, governments, and other organizations to more than just lightning strikes. The latest scientific research proves that total lightning is often a precursor to other dangerous weather conditions like flash flooding, hail, and microbursts. If you’d like to learn more about DTAs, please download our data sheet below.


Warning systems that do not utilize total lightning detection send out delayed alerts or miss alerts entirely. These unreliable systems put you in harm’s way. DTAs protect your operations, finances, and people from a wide range of severe weather threats and often have the fastest lead times on the market.