Sunday 26 September 2021

More than half a million lightning strikes have struck this year in Costa Rica

September and October are the most active months

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(QCOSTARICA) The lightning count that fell on Costa Rica this year already exceeds half a million, as confirmed by the atmospheric discharge network of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).

We are in the period of greatest lightning activity, so the measurement helps prevent incidents for people who work outdoors. Photo: Rafael Pacheco.

The number was reached recently, in the high incidence season, which runs from May to November.

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The half-million mark was reached at 3:47 pm on September 15, at Mansión de Nicoya, Guanacaste province.

According to ICE data, the west of the Central Valley (Alajuela, Santa Bárbara, Mora, Puriscal) is the area with the highest lightning density, according to the information collected between 2005 and 2020.

The Pacific slope and the northern zone are also areas with considerable records.

At the moment, the figure is within the averages of the rainy season in which some 150,000 discharged are generated per month.

This was explained by Daniel Poleo, a meteorologist at the national weather service, the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN), who indicated that many lightning rays do not fall to the ground, but move between one cloud and another. Similarly, some move in the direction of the earth to the cloud.

The lightning count reported by ICE is only to those from the cloud to the ground.

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In 2017, twice as many lightning bolts had been registered until September 17, compared to the current season, when there were 1,110,102 downloads throughout the country that year.

That year broke the record set in 2014 when the figure reached 1,008,863 lightning rays.

The ICE network is made up of seven sensors that detect the lightning rays produced in the skies of Costa Rica with high precision and reliability, in addition to the IMN equipment.

On Friday alone, 3,866 lightning rays fell mostly between Ciudad Quesada and La Fortuna de San Carlos, as well as in Abangares de Guanacaste and Siquirres (Limon) areas.

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This year there have not been as many deaths from lightning strikes as on other occasions. In 2018, at least five people died of lightning strikes. Last year in San Carlos, lightning killed one person and injured four others.

On August 14 this year, a farmer, Gerardo Guillén Gutiérrez, 27, lost his life in Bonilla de Turrialba struck by lightning.

The information collected by ICE allows for lightning alerts issued.

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