HazardHub Lightning Risk

We model large digital data sets into analog answers

HazardHub Lightning Risk File

The HazardHub Lightning Risk File is part of the Convective Storm Suite which also includes Damaging Winds (58+ mph), Hail, and Tornados.

Local fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning between 2007-2011. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries, and $451 million in direct property damage per year. In the three decades 1980-2010, lightning caused $6.2 billion in direct property damage (2010 dollars).

1 In addition to the fires reported to local fire departments, lightning caused an average of 9,000 wildland fires per year between 2008-2012.  Lightning fires tended to be larger than fires started by humans.  The average lightning-caused fire burned 402 acres, nine times the average of 45 acres seen in human-caused wildland fires.

2  Lightning is a product of convective storms, often called thunder storms, that occur everywhere in the United States but most frequently in the areas east of the Rockies where warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico meets cooler air sweeping southward.

The HazardHub Lightning Risk File was compiled from long-term NOAA Doppler radar and other sources. The NOAA data contains almost 30 years of lightning event data for every county in the United States consisting of over 31 million records.

The HazardHub Lightning model covers both the total number of lightning events including cloud-to- cloud strikes which do not produce terrestrial damage and ground strikes which account for the massive property losses detailed above. The sample data reports only total strikes, but long term observations suggest that 15% of total strikes reach the ground so that value was used to produce the ground strike results.