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Lightning Products and Services

Through a contract with Vaisala, the raw data from NCEI is available only to NOAA users. However, NCEI is developing several derived products that are freely available for all users. These products include summaries of lightning flashes by county and state as well as gridded lightning frequency products. The products are produced as standard formats, including NetCDF, and are available by direct download and web services. The web services provide the ability to subset the data both spatially and temporally. The NLDN dataset is available for the continental United States.

Damage and Casualty Reports

Damage and casualty reports are available from the NCEI Storm Events Database.

Raw Flash Data Access

The raw data from NCEI are available to only NOAA users using a NOAA network or the NOAA ERAV VPN. NOAA employees and NOAA contractors can access the data here:

SWDI Map Tool - Lightning Strike Data

The SWDI lightning strike data map tool is also only available to NOAA employees and contractors here:

All other users must obtain the data from the data owner, Vaisala Corporation, at their host web site:

SWDI Tile Summaries

The number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes is summarized for each day in 0.10-degree tiles. These tiles are part of the NCEI Severe Weather Data Inventory and are accessible from a basic GIS-based search tool as well as simple, URL-based RESTful web services.

County and State Summaries (PROTOTYPE)

The number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes is calculated for each day for all U.S. counties and states. These summary reports are generated as part of the NCEI Severe Weather Data Inventory, and they contain counts of severe storm attributes detected by algorithms in the NEXRAD Weather Radar network. The summary reports are in CSV text format and are available via FTP or HTTP.

Gridded Summaries (PROTOTYPE)

The number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes is calculated for each day, month, and year as well as for the 1986-to-present period of record. Additionally, the number of flashes is calculated for each hour and summarized by month, year, and period of record. Grids are also created to show only positive polarity flashes for all time periods. The summary grids are defined as a 4 km Albers Equal Area grid, fit to the continental United States, and are available in NetCDF format from FTP and THREDDS.

The THREDDS Data Server provides aggregations to efficiently organize the many data files into single virtual files representing multiple variables and times merged together. Web services are available to access the Gridded Summaries using OPeNDAP, WMS, and WCS. The NetCDF Subset Service allows the download of geographic and temporal subsets in the NetCDF format as well as single grid cell time-series extraction in CSV, XML, or NetCDF formats.