April 2017 I added a Boltek Lightning Detector at West Lethbridge Weather. Data here is uploaded constantly to this as well as NexStorm, Astrogenic, StrikeStar and Microsferics websites where it is compiled into a large area map available via the Internet. Check out lightning strike map for the latest information gathered here at the station.
This detection system senses the low frequency radio signals produced by lightning’s electrical discharge. This signal is the crackling sound you hear on an AM radio when thunderstorms are nearby. These signals travel for hundreds of kilometers / miles and are detected by StormTracker’s antenna. The range of this detector is well over 500 KM radius. Chek the Boltek System FAQ for more information.
The detector was first installed in March and has been in fine-tune mode since then. The system consists of a Boltek Storm Tracker PCI which feeds a GPS based Time of Arrival (TOA) then into a dedicated lightning workstation. There is an external antenna raised up on a PVC mast approximately 7.5m above ground. The live time information is updated here on West Lethbridge Weather Strike Map
You can compare our local strike info to the Environment Canada Lightning Danger Map
Here’s a few common questions and answers about this station’s detection system:
Q: How does StormTracker detect lightning?
A: StormTracker detects the low frequency radio signals produced by lightning’s electrical discharge. This signal is the crackling you hear on an AM radio when thunderstorms are nearby. These signals travel for hundreds of miles and are detected by StormTracker’s antenna.
Q: How does StormTracker know where the lightning is?
A: StormTracker uses a direction-finding antenna to determine the direction the lightning signal came from. StormTracker’s receiver looks at the signal strength to calculate an approximate distance for the lightning strike. There is additional processing done in software to reduce the effect of strike to strike magnitude variations. Once StormTracker knows the direction and distance of the strike it plots it on the map.
The OFFICIAL STUFF – Lightning is a serious thing and as they say “When thunder roars, go indoors!”. NEVER rely solely from information provided by this station. Be Aware!! Information here is provided to inform and is from my Personal Weather Station (which uses professional grade equipment for data collection).
Astrogenic Systems NexStorm
This chart shows thunderstorms currently tracked from my location here in West Lethbridge. You can see the distance, direction, intensity, strikes per minute, and other information about brewing storms.
Lighting Strike Map
This map shows where the lightning is currently striking. It shows strikes that are cloud to ground, cloud to cloud, and whether it is positive or negative. Lightning is far more complex than just a bolt of light, to find out more, check out this great website about how lightning is created.
There is a joint effort between 5 other Personal Weather Station operators to become part of Microsferics Real Time North America Weather where you can see the collective strike info by areas and zoom in accordingly. The more the stations within range of each other, the more accurate the details. More details to follow!
Microsferics TOA Lightning Network
(Displays data within 600 km of Lethbridge)
West Lethbridge Weather and the following Prairie sites are members of this lightning detection network:
Barker Farms (Wilkie)
Olds Weather Station
NWR Weather (Regina)
(Updates every 5 minutes)
Local mLDN Network Local Coverage Map
(1000 km view)