Uses of the Lightning Mapping Array

lma_first2

Cloud-to-ground data (left) and corresponding LMA observations (right)

Intra-cloud lightning activity often precedes the first cloud-to-ground strike in a thunderstorm.  In this case, a squall line was approaching northwest Alabama and the Muscle Shoals TAF site.  The cloud-to-ground lightning observations (on the left) indicate that lightning activity is confined to the main squall line.  However, the intra-cloud observations by the lightning mapping array indicate that preceding convection ahead of the squall line are already electrically active and that the cloud-to-ground threat is imminent.  These preceding storms produced cloud-to-ground lightning five minutes after these observations.

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