The National Hurricane Center is counting lightning strokes to see if they could lead to better thunderstorm warnings, but one meteorologist says such warnings could be too late to do any good.
A correlation between the the severity of a storm and the number, frequency and intensity of lightning before it would let forecasters issue more timely and accurate warnings, said Bob Pifer, a meteorologist.The equipment for comparison has been available for years, but Florida has been slow to use the information for weather prediction, he said. "Specialized users like electric companies, forestry services or power generation plants are more concerned with lightning than the general public."
"In Florida, we have fairly short-lived storms. They usually start to dissipate in 30 to 45 minutes," said National Weather Service meteorologist Gordon McCann in West Palm Beach. By the time enough lightning strokes to make the prediction are recorded, it could be too late for warnings, he said.