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We have recorded the biggest lightning flashes ever

A lightning flash at sunset during a thunderstorm in São Paulo, Brazil

S. Garcia Cournoyer / Alamy

The biggest lightning flash on record has been identified. More than twice the size of the previous record, it spanned 709 kilometres – about the distance from London to Geneva.

A second flash has set a world record for longest duration. It went on for 16.7 seconds, also doubling the previous record. “We identified two new lightning flashes that are substantially bigger than anything we’ve ever seen before,” says Randall Cerveny at Arizona State University.

Until recently, lightning was primarily tracked …