Lightning activity quadruples in 2017

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sensors for the Costa Rican electricity institute have registered over 1,650 lightning strikes in just the first two days of June alone throughout the country.

According to data provided by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the number of electric shocks quadrupled by comparison to prior data gathered in 2016. That has it reaching a total of over 295,500 based on the results from the seven detectors scattered throughout the country monitoring this.

Most of the reports indicate that the Pacific coast is the area most impacted by these atmospheric discharges due to the type of cloud overcast formed along the coast, officials said.

The detectors consist of a dome with three antennas for: electric field, magnetic field and the GPS system. According to the institute, the selected sites for the detectors are isolated from other wave interference, are flat and are far removed from people to prevent manipulation or damage.

Berny Fallas, the coordinator of atmospheric discharges at the institute, noted that the continuation of the rainy season will likely bring more lightning strikes.

The institute said that each detector covers a radius of at least 370 kilometers and is located in varying locations ranging from people’s farms to the airports in Costa Rica.

“In order to know the patterns of real-time lightning and to protect the electrical and telecommunications infrastructure of ICE, we have installed these instruments since 2002,” Ana María Barrantes, the director in charge of the system, said. “It sends information in real time to the central analyzer located in Sabana Norte.”

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