Lightning activity during the 1999 Superior derecho

Colin Price, Brian P. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On 4 July 1999, a severe convective windstorm, known as a derecho, caused extensive damage to forested regions along the United States/Canada border, west of Lake Superior. There were 665,000 acres of forest destroyed in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park in Canada, with approximately 12.5 million trees blown down. This storm resulted in additional severe weather before and after the occurrence of the derecho, with continuous cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning occurring for more than 34 hours during its path across North America. At the time of the derecho the percentage of positive cloud-to-ground (+CG) lightning measured by the Canadian Lightning Detection Network (CLDN) was greater than 70% for more than three hours, with peak values reaching 97% positive CG lightning. Such high ratios of +CG are rare, and may be useful indicators of severe weather.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2142
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2002


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