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2017 Lightning Strike Results Are In

Which state had the most lightning strikes in 2017?

The answer might surprise you.
Most people think of the southeastern states like Florida or Alabama. Many people think of the states that have a lot of tornados like Kansas or Oklahoma.
But in 2017 Texas is on top of the list according to Vaisala. Vaisala is a company that helps meteorologists measure weather and develop more accurate forecasts. Each year they publish a report and this year’s top ten states for lightning strikes are:
1. Texas
2. Oklahoma
3. Louisiana
4. Florida
5. Kansas
6. Missouri
7. Arkansas
8. Nebraska
9. New Mexico
10. Mississippi
According to the annual report, Texas led the nation with 3.30 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in 2017. Oklahoma came in second with 1.41 million lightning flashes.
The Gulf states did have some of the highest lightning density as did eastern Oklahoma.
If you want to see the full report click HERE.
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Weather Fact vs. Fiction

It never ceases to amaze us some of the weather myths that just won’t go away. We’re talking the lightning can’t strike the same place twice and hiding under an underpass during a tornado types of myths. They aren’t things to take lightly, and not knowing the difference between fact and fiction could be the difference between life and death.

So, let’s talk about some of the most common misconceptions.


Lightning Myth #1: Lightning won’t strike the same place twice

Let’s start with the obvious: lightning can, in fact, hit the same place twice. Actually, the Empire State Building in New York City is struck by lightning about 23 times a year. It’s not even that unheard of that the same building or structure gets struck multiple times in one storm.

Lightning Myth #2: Heat lightning

Ever been outside on a clear evening with no rain or clouds in sight? Then, all of a sudden, you catch a huge flash out of the corner of your eye. How can this be possible?

It’s commonly misstated as heat lightning. There is actually no such thing as heat lightning, and what you’re seeing is the lightning from a far off storm. But that still doesn’t mean you’re safe. Being struck is certainly less likely the further you get from a storm, but you could still be at risk if you are within 20-40 miles of a storm per the National Fire Protection Agency. 

Lightning Myth #3: One mile per second

You can tell your distance from a storm by counting the seconds between when you see lightning and hear thunder, but it’s not the way you’ve always been told. Knowing what we know now, sounds like anything less than a minute is within the danger zone. NOAA and the National Weather Service recommend seeking immediate shelter if your count is less than 30 seconds!

The following table is the correct Flash-to-Bang estimations calculated based on the speed of sound at sea level:

If thunder is heard The lightning is . . .
5 seconds after a flash 1 mile away
10 seconds after a flash 2 miles away
15 seconds after a flash 3 miles away
20 seconds after a flash 4 miles away
25 seconds after a flash 5 miles away
30 seconds after a flash 6 miles away


Contrary to popular belief, storms do not always move from west to east. This is an especially dangerous myth when you try to outrun a hurricane, tornado, or any other storm. Some types of storms – like tornadoes – are especially unpredictable to the uninformed victim. Wondering what does drive the direction? The wind and atmosphere, not your compass.

Earlier we mentioned that hiding under an underpass during a tornado is a bad idea. Wondering why? Wind dynamics. Structures like overpasses cause the wind from a tornado to concentrate and become stronger. This probably sounds weird, but have you ever noticed how a light wind can become a whipping force in a corner or alcove? Same idea.


This myth is going to seem inconsequential, but we all know that heat can be a real killer. It turns out wearing white versus black during the summer has no effect on your body temperature. White clothing reflects sunlight and it also reflects your own internal heat. Black absorbs sunlight but it doesn’t transfer it to your body. Ultimately, the best thing to do is wear loose billowy clothing to allow your body to get rid of its own internal heat, minimize the transfer of heat from sunlight, and take full advantage of the science of evaporation.

Finally, dry heat and humid heat are equally dangerous. Your body is still going to react the same way to 105-degree weather. The only difference is that there’s no tricking your body in humid heat. It’s gross, sticky, and undeniably sweaty. Dry heat makes it a little bit easier to forget just how bad we’re straining our bodies. No matter which hot situation you find yourself in, seek shade, rest often, and keep hydrated.

Avoid myths. Carry an INO Weather Pro™.

We know by now your head is probably spinning a little bit with new knowledge (and wondering what else the world has been lying to you about). We developed our INO Weather Pro™ with you and your safety in mind. Keep facts and science close by with real time measurements, distance from ground to lightning strikes, temperature, and more.



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Get to Know The Various Types of Lightning

You know lightning when you see it, but did you know there are actually many different types of lightning?

Of course, all lightning is an electrical discharge caused by the charge imbalances between clouds and the ground, or cloud to cloud. When this imbalance strikes a tipping point, discharge of high voltage electricity during a short duration ensues.

Get to know the various types of lightning. Sheet lightning vs. forked lightning, cloud to air lightning, ribbon lightning, staccato lightning, cloud to cloud lightning, many types of lightning strikes exist, even cloudless lightning. Depending on numerous factors, including where the lightning originates, where it ends up, and what charge it carries, you can figure out how to identify several different types of lightning.

Touch the Ground for Good Luck

A common way to categorize types of lightning revolves around where the electrical charges are coming from, and where they are going.

At the beginning of cloud-to-ground (CTG) lightning situations, an invisible flow of weakly charged particles (referred to as a stepped leader) zigzag toward the earth in a forked pattern at an impressive speed of 200,000 mph. The stepped leader is essentially searching for the path of least resistance between the cloud and the ground before lightning strikes.


Branches of the CTG lightning are visible.

CTG lightning can be broken down into two primary types of lightning: positive and negative. A negative CTG (-CG) operates through a negatively charged stepped leader. It can be identified through its downward branching strike, which usually consists of multiple “return strokes”, or pulses of current that illuminate the channel again and again.

The -CG is attracted to a streamer, a tall positively charged object—often a tree or a pole. When these two connect, electric current flows toward the cloud at a rate of 60,000 mph. By doing this, the negative charge from the cloud is moved toward the ground in an attempt to create equilibrium.

Branches of the CTG lightning are visible. However, there are many other types of lightning that may not be.

The other group of CTG is positive (+CG). These are usually associated with supercell thunderstorms, as well as the flat rain clouds, or stratiform, that are behind a cold front squall.

Unlike -CG, this type of lightning can often be identified by a lack of branching. Some branching occurs at higher altitude, but for the most part, witnesses are aware of it as a single stroke of intense, bright lightning. It’s also possible to identify +CG by their loud, deep thunder.

The +CGs only account for about one in every 20 CTGs but are stronger and more destructive than -CGs.


+CGs can be identified from the lack of branching.

Consider the Look of Lightning

Though understanding negative and positive CTG is important for the scientist and meteorologist, it is also possible to categorize types of lightning by what you see as an interested observer. In this way, you can identify Staccato and Forked lightning, as well as a Bolt from the Blue.

Staccato lighting is CTG lightning comprising of a single, short-duration stroke, while Forked lightning splits and divides into two or more parts as it approaches the ground—sometimes looking like tree roots.

A “Bolt from the Blue” often travels a relatively large horizontal distance through clear skies from its source cloud. Then, it angles down and strikes the ground. This type of lightning typically comes from cumulonimbus clouds and can travel for miles into cloudless, blue skies before touching down. Hence, its name.

Additionally, when photographing lightning, you can capture Ribbon lightning, which is caused by strong winds blowing stepped leader channels for lighting sideways during the photo exposure.


A Bolt from the Blue can travel horizontally for miles before striking ground.

Lightning that Stays Inside the Cloud

Though CTG comprises the most iconic types of lightning, intracloud lightning is the most common type of lightning. In these cases, instead of electrical charges moving from a cloud to the ground, they simply bounce to a different part of the same cloud, moving to where there is a significant difference in charge.

It’s the same kind of situation that occurs when there are too many people on one side of a boat, and some need to move to the other side to help balance.

This type of lightning is also referred to as “sheet lightning” because it lights up the entire sky like a big, white sheet. However, intracloud should not be confused with cloud-to-cloud lightning.


The sky lights up when Sheet lightning strikes.

Lightning that Jumps From Cloud to Cloud

Cloud-to-cloud lightning is a rare type of lightning where an electrical charge imbalance exists between two or more separate storm clouds. Again, this should not be confused with intra-cloud lightning.

Lightning Into Thin Air

In the case of cloud-to-air lightning, a cloud discharges into the negatively-charged air around it but does not strike the ground or transfer the charge to another part of itself or another cloud. This lightning is often something you might also see when watching CTG lightning, though it can happen independently of CTG lightning strikes. Basically, all branches of CGT lightning that don’t touch the ground can be considered cloud-to-air lightning.

Lightning that Goes the Other Direction

Ground-to-cloud lightning, or upward moving lightning, is the opposite of CTG lightning. This type of lightning occurs when the discharge is initiated by an object on the ground, usually something tall, such as a skyscraper. Like CTG, it can carry a  positive or negative charge.

Lightning in the Heat

Though often thought about as a distinct type of lightning, heat lightning is nothing more than one of the other types of lightning flashing very far away. In these cases, it is possible to see the lightning, but you don’t hear anything. You can’t hear anything because of how far away the storm is. Regardless of whether or not you can hear it, there is always thunder when there is lightning.

Heat lightning got its name because it often occurs during hot summer nights. It’s also a pretty good indicator that a storm is coming your way. Of course, no indicator is quite as accurate as a pocket-sized INO Weather Pro weather monitor, which gives you the capability of detecting lightning up to 40 miles away.


Though you might not hear the thunder when you see heat lightning, it’s definitely there.

Who Knows Sprites and Jets?

Large thunderstorms are capable of producing rare phenomena known as transient luminous events (TLEs). Though TLEs are not well understood by scientists, they have identified two types: red sprites and blue jets.

Sprites appear as vertical red columns above a cloud. They are fairly weak flashes of light that cannot be seen by the human eye. Blue jets, however, can be seen with the naked eye. Though they come from the top of a thunder cloud, there are records of pilots witnessing these strange TLEs.

Knowing The Various Types of Lightning

Though several types of lightning are not actually dangerous to people, it is important to be aware of all types of lightning and take precautions. For example, when witnessing CTG lightning, it is especially important to remain in a safe place.

It turns out that the average American has a one in 5,000 chance of being struck by lightning, while more than 2,000 people each year are killed by lightning. Though a few hundred survive being struck by lightning and are able to tell us what it feels like to be hit by lightning, it’s best to exercise caution and educate yourself about these power surges of electricity.


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What It Feels Like To Be Struck By Lightning

Without a doubt, you’re an unlucky person if you get struck by lightning–but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Because of this possibility, it’s hard not to wonder what it would feel like having all that powerful electricity surge through your body.

You may be surprised to find out that if you do get zapped by lightning, you’re likely to survive. According to Dr. David Claypool of Mayo Clinic, whether or not you are hit directly or indirectly will have a huge impact on how your body is affected by the incident.

What happens after you’re struck by lightning can vary dramatically. Last May, lightning struck an unprotected hut in Zimbabwe, killing 21 people. On the opposite end of the spectrum of that African tragedy stands Roy Sullivan, famous for being hit by lightning on seven different occasions! By examining these extremes, and all the stories from survivors and bystanders between them, it’s possible to grasp what it really feels like to be struck by lightning.

Getting Hit by 1 Billion Volts, Deep within The Skin

Jamie Santana‘s family regained consciousness on the ground of their home after a lightning struck.

Jamie did not.
Jamie and his brother-in-law, Alejandro Torres, had turned their horses around because of the oncoming storm. They were nearly home when Jamie was hit by lightning.

Their neighbor, a paramedic and a firefighter, rushed out to assist him. Flames jumped from Jamie’s chest as his body smoked, the cowboy hat he had been wearing had a hole blown through it. The neighbor immediately started performing CPR, which was essential to giving Jamie a chance of survival.

On the way to the hospital, paramedics struggled to stabilize Jamie’s heart rhythm. In addition to heart failure, the lightning burned about 17 percent of his body and caused severe brain trauma.

After 131 days, spent at four hospitals, Jamie was released. However, doctors said it would take years before he recovered.

Struck by Lightning: Unexplainable Pain

Unlike Jamie, Justin Gauger, another lightning-strike survivor, is able to vividly recall the experience.

Justin’s wife caught the lightning strike on camera from inside her vehicle as she avoided a hail storm. However, it’s impossible to make out the lightning hitting Justin.

When the lightning hit him, Justin felt his whole body stop. He was surrounded by white light as the world began to move in slow motion. Bystanders rushed to Justin’s smoking body after he was hit.

Though the memory of being out fishing with his family when he was hit by lightning is clear, Justin struggles to find the words to describe the pain that surged through his body. As close as Justin could get to depicting the actual feeling was the analogy of putting your finger in a light socket. However, this time the current was exponentially stronger as it surged throughout his body.

Short-term and Long-term effects of being Struck By Lightning

Those who have been struck by lightning often suffer a variety of short-term and long-term effects depending on a number of variables:

  • Did the lightning strike them directly or indirectly?
  • What clothing were they wearing?
  • What did they have in their pockets at the time?

Immediately after being struck by lightning, there can be issues with your vision and hearing, due to the bright flash of lightning and the booming clap of thunder. In Justin’s case, his ears were ringing immediately after being hit. According to Dr. Claypool, lightning can cause temporary blindness and can potentially rupture an eardrum.

These, however, are minor issues when compared to serious burns, chronic pain, and head trauma that could lead to memory issues and other long-term ailments that can occur if you’re struck by lightning. As in Jamie’s case, some of these effects can last years, if not a lifetime.

Burns and Brain Effects when Struck by Lightning

It’s possible that the burns on your body after you’ve been struck by lightning will look insignificant. Dr. Claypool describes the burns as Lichtenberg figures or just “lines”. However, the damage done by the heat can be more than skin deep. These electrical burns can cause serious internal damage, especially to the muscles, heart, or brain.

Mary Ann Cooper, a retired Chicago emergency physician, and long-time lightning researcher points out that brain injuries that can occur when a person is struck by lightning can cause strain in your overall life. The damage can cause personality changes, mood swings, or depression. These changes can impact your relationships with family members and your spouse.

According to Cooper, electrical shock to the brain can have the same impact as an electrical shock to a computer – it scrambles everything up. Thinking of it this way, the lightning essentially rewires your brain. Though everything might look fine on the outside, the surge may have damaged the software within.

A Body That Becomes a Soup Inside Clothes

Lightning-strike victims struggle to describe the pain and sensations of millions of volts of electricity passing through their bodies. Many simply say that the experience is unthinkable. Others are more creative in their analogies and descriptions.

In a collection of experiences of being struck by lightning published by Business Insider, Betsy Smith explains that it felt like her entire body become a soup inside her clothes. Her left arm was severely burned in the incident and one of her fingers actually had to be amputated.

Brock Nevill was 15 years old when the tree he was leaning against was hit by lightning. After being bedridden for three months due to heart failure, he developed an allergy to metals.

Another survivor described the pain as “being stung by 10,000 wasps from inside out”. He suffered nervous system damage. To this day, he experiences severe mood swings and insomnia.

What it Feels Like to be Struck By Lightning

There is a one in 1,042,000 chance of being struck by lightning in the US in any given year, according to the National Weather Service. Though the chances are slim of being hit by lightning, an average 51 people are killed by lightning every year, reports NOAA.

In the US, the only weather condition that kills more people each year is flooding. Though natural disasters are hard to predict, basic precautions can help safeguard you from lightning. The most important step is to avoid wide open spaces (such as golf courses), and water (such as lakes) when lightning storms are approaching.

Though each person struck by lightning can feel different effects due to numerous factors, it’s obviously something best left to our imaginations, as the reality of being hit by lightning can cause short-term and long-term damage that may change life as you know it, forever.

To keep yourself as safe as possible, invest in a lightning detection system, like the INO Weather Pro. In addition to detecting lightning up to 40 miles away, this self-contained device measures temperature, pressure, humidity, heat index, dew point, and altitude. For those out of cell range, it works without the need to connect to the internet, instead directly interpreting the signals from your surrounding environment.


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Lightning Can Strike Twice

Contrary to popular belief, Colorado lightning can strike twice. After all, there is no way to completely evade lightning–it is a natural phenomenon. The Denver area recently experienced two separate lightning-related accidents that transpired in early May 2017.

In the first situation, a woman was watching a Little League baseball game in Highlands Ranch. According to reports from others at the game, she was sitting under a tent, which was allegedly under a tree. This situation put her at greater risk than normal to be struck by lightning. Luckily for this woman, her injuries were non-threatening, though she was taken to a local hospital for further monitoring.

In the second situation of Colorado lightning, another woman was riding her horse on a recreational trail in Douglas County when she and her horse were struck by lightning. The woman was riding with another person, a teenager, who also got struck by lightning. In the teenager’s case, she made it out of the situation with severe injuries but lived to tell the tale. But for the woman and her horse, the lightning strike was fatal. It was reported that the riders saw signs of lightning and were trying to stay ahead of the storm while meeting up with another person.

According to National Weather Service data, lightning killed 38 people last year, the most since 2007, when 45 people died. These deaths certainly don’t account for the majority of fatal accidents (like driving accidents), but every single one of them is largely preventable with the right preparation and education.


What to do When There’s a Storm and You’re Stuck Outdoors

The two aforementioned situations of dangerous Colorado lightning strikes are painful to imagine but offer the opportunity to educate outdoors enthusiasts and sports teams (and their loyal fans) on how to deal with a storm when you’re stuck outdoors.

  • Avoid high places, like isolated trees, open fields, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communications towers, flagpoles, light poles, and bleachers.
  • Go indoors if possible. Even a car can be an ideal shelter from a lightning strike. Just make sure that the windows are closed!
  • Assume the lightning position. Crouch as low as you can with as little of yourself touching the ground. When lightning strikes the ground, it causes electric currents on the top of the ground that can be deadly up to 100 feet away. In the case of the woman on the horse in the aforementioned case of Colorado lightning, the lightning strike killed her from 10 feet away.
  • When you get inside, avoid using the telephone, running water or touching conductive surfaces like metal door frames.

There’s also something to be said about learning how to detect lightning and other stormy weather patterns.


Detecting Colorado Lightning and Weather Patterns

Thunder is an indicator that lightning is near, but you never really know how near. By using the popular Flash to Bang Method, you’ll only ever get a rough estimate. Because of this, when it comes to safety, you don’t want to compromise and leave it all to chance.

For a more precise way to detect lightning (and other dangerous weather), INO Technologies created The Weather Pro, a handheld weather device that reads a number of weather measurements (temperature, humidity, pressure, heat index, dew point, and altitude) in a small handy touch screen device. It is, in fact, the only handheld weather device that includes lightning detection.

For outdoors enthusiasts or sports teams in a bad weather, it’s the perfect tool for prevention, because there’s no need for cellular or internet signal thanks to its own built-in sensors.


Colorado Lightning Does Strike Twice

Lightning strikes are rare, but potentially deadly if proper precaution isn’t taken. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so consider investing in the INO Weather Pro if you’re the type that finds yourself frequently enjoying the great outdoors–and want to avoid the painful possibilities of Colorado lightning!


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INO Weather Pro™ Now Available to Order!!!

Your INO Weather Pro is ready to order


Order your’s today.  The Weather Pro is the only weather monitor on the market today that combines lightning detection with traditional weather measurements.  This handheld, battery powered device can detect lightning strikes up to 40 miles and also gives you temperature, humidity, pressure, heat index, dew point, and altitude.  All this in an easy to use color touchscreen display.

Whether you work or play outdoors, the weather conditions affect all of us.  Know what is happening right where you are.  The INO Weather Pro has all its sensors in the device, so there are no connections to the internet or cellular networks needed to get critical information at your location.  Going hiking in the backcountry, no problem, the Weather Pro can go with you.  Working on a construction site, the Weather Pro will be there all day watching for weather changes.  The internal battery lasts up to 30 hours on a single charge so the Weather Pro will last as long as you do.  Small and lightweight at just 6.6 oz (187 g), the INO Weather Pro is easy to carry.

The first units are rolling off the production line and we will be shipping in the next 4-6 weeks.  Place your order today and we will not charge your credit card or PayPal until we ship it to you.

And don’t forget – we offer a 30 day money back guarantee and a two year warranty.  So you can buy with confidence.


It’s Good to Know


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Lightning: Meaning, Origin, and Definition


The word lightning originates from the Middle English word lightenen (make bright). Lightning is an adjective (as in lightning strike, lightning speed, lightning bolt). Interestingly, Merriam-Webster provides two definitions of the word, the second being “a sudden stroke of fortune” (don’t tell that to someone who’s been too close for comfort or worse, struck by it).

Early detection of lightning – before it strikes – is one of the best ways to stay safe. Even though a storm may appear far away, it may be fast moving or actually closer than your eye can detect. INO Technologies hand-held weather monitor with lightning detection detects lightning up to 40 miles away!

Lightning is the ‘vivid’ flash of light produced by a discharge of atmospheric electricity from cloud to cloud and sometimes from cloud to ground. The typical jagged bolt is just one kind of lightning. Other types include balls, elves, blue jets, and red sprites.

Scientists and physicists still do not know exactly what triggers lightning, but cosmic rays from outer space could hold the key to unlocking this mystery. In ancient times people considered lightning a divine event and that lightning held mystical powers. The Mayans, Romans, and Hindu believed that mushrooms would grow in places where lightning struck.

A typical lightning bolt contains about 15 million volts of electricity so it’s no wonder that the heat produced by a bolt is an astronomical temperature – easily exceeding 100,000 degrees during a strong storm.

Estimates of deadly lightning strikes worldwide vary from 6,000 to 24,000 annually. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says that in the U.S., 33 people are killed and an average 234 are injured by lightning strikes annually.


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Does Thunder in the Winter Mean Snow?

Weatherlore is an interesting, entertaining, centuries-old way to “predict” the weather, existing long before doppler radars were ever invented. Although most weatherlore is either too specific or too vague to accurately predict what the atmosphere will do. (A groundhog seeing its shadow will tell us when spring arrives? Really?)  Surprisingly, though, much of it tends to have at least a grain of truth.

For example, let’s take a look at this old wives’ tale: “Thunder in winter brings snow in seven days.”

As we know from the phenomenon of thundersnow, thunder and lightning during a snowstorm will indeed create a heavy snowfall. However, how can thunder by itself tell us what the weather will be like a week from now?  It can’t, of course, but the existence of thunder in the winter points to the existence of thunderstorms, and thunderstorms rely on an unstable atmosphere. Typically, this atmosphere will consist of cold air rushing in to displace warm air, so thunderstorms in the winter may indicate that a cold front is moving in. Whether or not that cold front will be followed by a system that produces snow can’t be accurately predicted, so it may be safer to say, “Thunder in winter brings cold weather.”  However, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, for states from the Plains to the East Coast, thunder in the winter will be followed by snow within a week about 70% of the time.


Weather Folklore Forecasts — Fact or Fiction?


If one weather adage is actually true more often than not, what does that say about other weather tales? Considering 2016 has been one of the warmest years on record and that many states have faced a warmer-than-usual fall season, when can we expect snow? Some of the following weatherlore may hold an answer:

●      If ant hills are high in July, winter will be snowy.

●      If the first week in August is unusually warm, the coming winter will be snowy and long.

●      For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall the following winter.

●      Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry will cause snow to gather in a hurry.

●      As high as the weeds grow, so will the bank of snow.

●      A green Christmas, a white Easter.

●      A warm October, a cold February.

●      If the first snowfall lands on unfrozen ground, winter will be mild.

●      A halo around the moon means it will rain or snow soon.

●      As many days old as is the moon on the first snow, there will be that many snowfalls by crop planting time.

●      See how high the hornet’s nest, ’twill tell how high the snow will rest.

●      The higher the muskrats’ holes are on the riverbank, the higher the snow will be.

●      Onion skins very thin, mild winter coming in; onion skins thick and tough, coming winter cold and rough.


What do you think? Do you find these tales have a grain of truth to them as well?


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INO Weather Pro™ featured in Angling Trade

Did you see that the Weather Pro weather monitor was featured in Angling Trade?  It is tough to find shelter sometimes when storms roll in quick and you are on the water.  We think fisherman will love having the Weather Pro in their gear bag.


Click Here for Angling Trade Article


When you are outdoors the INO Weather Pro is a great tool to give you the information you need to keep safe when the weather turns bad.  The Weather Pro is the first handheld device that combines real-time lightning detection up to 40 miles away with traditional weather data like temperature, pressure, humidity, heat index, dew point, and altitude. Click the link to read the article and find out more about how the INO Weather Pro can help you monitor the weather where ever you are with no internet or telecommunication connections needed.


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Thundersnow: A Rare Winter Weather Phenomenon


When it rains, it rains. When it snows, it snows. And when it thundersnows, it really snows!

Thundersnow is a weather phenomenon that excites and surprises weather enthusiasts in the winter precisely because it’s so rare. Jim Cantore’s reaction on The Weather Channel sums it up well: “You can have your $500 million jackpot in Powerball, but I’ll take this, baby!”

WARNING – Jim gets pretty excited so be careful your volume isn’t to high!  😉


Click Here for Jim Cantore Video


The reason thundersnow is such a rare occurrence is because very specific circumstances must be present in the atmosphere to create the kind of instability needed for a thunderstorm to occur. Air close to the ground must be warm enough to clash with the cooler air above, but that same air must still be cold enough to produce snow.

What’s more, when these particular circumstances exist, the process that creates lightning within the cloud will also create a heavier burst of snow, leaving a flash of bright white light in the sky and a thick layer of white on the ground. According to a 30-year study by atmospheric researchers from the University of Missouri, there is an 86 percent chance that at least six inches of snow will fall within 70 miles of the lightning flash.

If It’s Thundersnow, You’ll Want To Know

That same study says thundersnow only occurs about six times each year, and most of those occurrences happen in the Rocky Mountain region and areas near the Great Lakes. For this reason, most people in the U.S. will never experience a thundersnow in their lifetime.

The next time you’re dealing with a snowstorm, you can track any occurrences of this rare winter weather phenomenon with the handheld lightning detector feature of the INO Technology Weather Pro. Any time lightning flashes and strikes the ground, the Weather Pro will alert you and log the event. You might witness more than one flash, like Jim Cantore above, but for your own safety, it’s best to witness this weather event from inside a safe shelter.

As always, safety is a top priority. Most thundersnow lightning travels horizontally through the clouds and doesn’t make contact with the ground, but not all. Lightning strikes are still a possibility, so take precautions by following all lightning safety guidelines. If you’re stuck outside during a thundersnow, INO Technology’s Outdoor Lightning Safety Card can help guide you as you find your safest options to decrease your chances of a lightning strike.  Click here for your own copy of our Outdoor Lightning Safety Card.


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