Lightning Knocks out Internet in Caribbean

  • Feb 19, 2016

A well-placed lightning strike disrupted phone and internet service in Grand Cayman for hours on 16 February 2016. It all started when systems of multiple strong storm cells from the Gulf of Mexico sent lightning raining down on Florida, U.S. A bolt of lightning struck a landing station of the Maya-1 cable system between Cancun, Mexico and Hollywood, Florida during the afternoon hours and resulted in major outages. Our StreamerRT weather visualization tool tracked the storm system moving through southern Florida as did PulseRad, our radar alternative (see below.)

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The video below shows the path of the lightning throughout southern Florida. There were over 50,000 strikes of combined in-cloud (purple) and cloud-to-ground (yellow) lightning during the time span of 7am-5pm.

The Cayman information and Communication Technology Authority advised that “a lightning strike at MAYA1 cable terminal in Florida today is linked to hardware failure which is affecting the ability of Cayman telecoms providers”. By 9:50pm local time, ICTA said all issues with phone and internet had been solved.

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Photo: www.maya-1.com – Map of the MAYA-1 submarine Cable

Even though the storm over Florida was very strong and contained a large amount of lightning, fortunately no injuries were reported. This can be attributed to Florida’s large amount of Earth Networks lightning sensors. Our sensors sent out 58 Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts during the 12 hour period to warn the people of southern Florida of the oncoming dangerous weather. The below video shows Earth Networks exclusive cell tracks and DTAs.