Monday, 10 January 2005
NWS cloud-to-ground lightning threat analysis
The 25 million cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flashes each year in the United States are the number two cause of weather related deaths and result in five billion dollars of economic impact (www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov). These statistics show that CG lightning poses a significant threat to life and property. The National Weather Service's (NWS) mission statement asserts that forecasts and warnings are issued ‘for the protection of life and property.' Therefore, a CG lightning threat assessment can help the NWS fulfill its mission to protect life and property by making the public aware of the danger posed by all thunderstorms.
This paper will describe how the NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Tulsa is using CG lightning density to develop a five-tiered lightning threat analysis. This lightning threat will be conveyed to the public through both web-based and text products that will indicate where the greatest potential threat from CG lightning exists. These products are applicable to both severe and non-severe thunderstorms that occur in WFO Tulsa's county warning area.