Lightning in hurricane Hilary
Five days ago (July 25th), there was an interesting thing visible in the blitzortung strokes: quite a number of strokes were detected in what appears to be the outer bands of hurricane Hilary that was at that time close to Baja California. In the image below you can see a half circle of strokes at that position. Normally, hurricanes are not strong sources of lightning except when they are in a strengthening phase, which may have been the case for this hurricane. Since the hurricane seasons for the Atlantik is just starting, we may be able to observe similar behaviour in other cyclones as well.

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Wow, that’s incredible! You’re right it being uncommon for lightning to occur in a hurricane.

Lightning needs powerful updrafts that help to build electric charges. Thunderstorms have updrafts of rising air. But in a hurricane, the air does not rise upward. Instead, it swirls inward. I read that NASA scientists are still unclear what causes hurricanes to have lightning and thunder when most hurricanes do not which is quite interesting.

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