Lightning Strike Trend (storm is approaching or departing)

I’m working on a gauge that shows the lightning strike distance from my tempest. From the API I can get: avgStrikeDistance, strikeCount, and as a summary: strikeCount1h, strikeCount3h, strikeLastDist, strikeLastEpoch.

But none of those tell me if the storm is approaching or departing? I can compare the current strike to the previous strike but that is not reliable as the strikes jump all over the place. It would be awesome if there was some type of property based on weatherFlows AI that could let us know if the storm is approaching or departing.

Maybe it is there in another field and I have missed it??

Has anyone else worked out a way to tell if a storm is approaching or departing based on lightning information?

@GaryFunk sums this up well… Tempest Complete System International Shipping Update

I get that it is not easy and my station’s data alone is probably not enough to make a determination. But the weatherFlow cloud has a ton more data then just my station’s lightning strike data. I was thinking they could do the number crunching on the back end and push it out to the stations in the path of a storm.

Heck If I just print the lightning strike data from a storm my tempest observed, I can tell when the storm was first detected, got the closest, and left. But I can only see that after I have all the data from that storm. I’m looking for something that can make predictions as it occurs.

I’m going to run my report again and add the barometric pressure and see if that can help me calculate if the storm is approaching or departing.

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Here is a plot of a storm my tempest observed last month. The top graph shows the lightning distance in miles, and the second graph is the barometric pressure.

You can see a clear trend at the beginning that shows the storm approaching (distance getting smaller and smaller). But once the storm gets here it seems to bounce all over the place. That is probably what is really happening. As the front passes tons of concentrated lightning then hits are detected all over the place. Also the barometric pressure is the highest at the point the lightning seems to be the closest.

This is just one storm. Need to do some more analysis.

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I suggest you use the 5 nearest strikes, if the average distance of those is getting significanly less over time the storm is getting closer, if it is getting bigger, the storm is departing. Note that it doesn’t mean the storm will go over your location, it might be passing by at 15km distance. Just a suggestion, you could invent a different algorithm.


I think I have something that is going to work for my needs. When lightning is first detected I flag it is as approaching. Once the lightning is overhead (within 5 miles) I then flag all strikes as overhead / departing.

My goal is to give the observer of the gauge some type of indication as to where the storm is. If they look at the gauge and see that the needle is on the left side of the gauge they know it is approaching. If the needle is on the right side of the gauge they know it has approached and is either departing of hovering overhead.

Here is my GitHub repo based on the weather flow API:

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interesting, more informative than just “15 miles”. Weatherflow could use some of this programming tech to say instead “15 miles and departing”.
Just wondering how you handle multiple storms like this:

I had a similar storm to that in one of my test runs. It first appears as a distant 25 mile strike, approaches and then departs and then another cluster of lightning approaches and departs over and over.

As the algorithm stands now the gauge would show the first initial 25 miles of strikes on the approaching side of the gauge face. Once it detects a strike 5 Miles or closer it would flip over and show all remaining strikes on the overhead / departing side. Yes it would miss the fact that another cluster is approaching and show it on the overhead / departing side. But I would argue that it is still useful as the algorithm stands. An observer of the gauge could draw the conclusion that if a strike is on the approaching side of the gauge, the storm is most likely just getting here for the first time.

I agree it would be awesome if whetherflow would calculate the lightning cluster direction for us.

of course it would be hard to know that another is approaching but you might be able to detect the second storm at 1:15. You might get inspiration from something I suggested to David in my post from july 17 [App] Better control over lightning strike alerts

That is an awesome thread! I like how the zones are setup and the alerts are sent. “sunny zones” smile.

I think I’m going to table the lightning gauge for now and focus on the easy stuff. I want to get something I can hang on the wall and start testing.

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