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Lack of nighttime storms?

  • 05-07-2022 10:00am
    Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but up here in my part of County Antrim we haven’t had a proper nighttime thunderstorm for approx 5 years now.

    I know this because we moved to a new house in Nov 2017 and there hasn’t been a single nighttime storm. Just a sporadic flash or two at a real push.

    Daytime storms, yes. But no good nighttime storm where you can see proper lightning.

    Last actual full on lightning show was back around July / Aug 2017 in my old house. It was a classic situation of anticipation watching the south horizon as storms built up over the midlands, and then the first flashes could be seen over Newry / Dundalk from here. Then a full on intense lightning show that passed overhead and up to the north coast.

    Its kinda depressing that summers have not delivered any balmy night shows ever since? 20c at 10/11pm with flashing thunderheads approaching. Waiting for the first deep boom to be heard. Excitement building…. You get the drift!


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 16,321 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gonzo

    Ireland is probably the least likely country in the northern hemisphere to get thunderstorms due to our geography. I've only experienced one proper thunderstorn in Ireland during my lifetime and it was in 1985, here in Meath the wait goes on and on and on. Sure we've had thundery showers with the odd rumble of thunder and flash of lightning but that's not really a thunderstorm. Nothing unusual about a lack of thunderstorms in Ireland at night, best chances are usually early to late afternoons for homegrown thundery showers. As for the welsh or french imports, those rarely make it much past the south or south-eastern coastal areas of Ireland. Most of the time these proper thunderstorms die out over southern/central England or wales and rarely make it to Ireland. Some parts of Cork, Waterford and Wexford have had a bit more luck in recent years getting some French/Welsh imports.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,104 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Had one a daytime one a few weeks back in Dublin. But I think there were more when I was a kid. That said very few here compared to other countries I've lived in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,938 ✭✭✭highdef

    @Gonzo I'm with you with regards to what is a thundery shower and what is a thunderstorm. A heavy rain shower with a half dozen strikes in 20/30 minutes or so is a thundery shower to me. For me, a thunderstorm needs to have a lightning strike occurring before the previous roll of thunder has ceased.....or at least near enough to that extent. Perhaps that's a strange definition but a storm is something dramatic. If you have a peel of thunder every couple of minutes, it's not really a storm, from my POV anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,972 ✭✭✭pad199207

    Your best chance of those is to be in Wexford. Straight up from France/Biscay you can’t beat them. Had one the beginning of last month and it was decent enough for Irish standards, although it wasn’t a proper plume storm.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,104 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    I looked it up.

    The rapid expansion and heating of air caused by lightning produces the accompanying loud clap of thunder.

    So there's always lightning.

    Best storm I've seen are in the states and South of France. I think we had a chimney spilt by lightning when in the UK.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,115 ✭✭✭emo72

    That 1985 storm scared the bejaysus outta me. Fantastic storm and I'd love another one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,666 ✭✭✭dmc17

    Last year's one on the west coast at the end of the hot spell in July was quite impressive, although once again a daytime one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,972 ✭✭✭pad199207

    Indeed it was. Probably the best Irish storm in a decade

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,442 ✭✭✭bad2thebone

    I remember a thunderstorm in Wexford back in the 90's myself and my cousin were on a cycle from Cullenstown to Bannow in our early teens. I still remember a lightening strike in the field beside the road we were cycling on. And it felt like it followed us all the way back to Bannow, like something from a horror movie it was. Forked lightening that looked like it was a meter thick from where were were cycling but obviously much thicker taking perspective into account.

  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭glightning

    True Gonzo. Ireland has a distinct lack of storms for sure, but here in north we have had quite a few decent nighttime storms over the past decades. I clearly remember the 1985 storm even though I was only 9 at the time. Mainly for the duration of that event from about 9pm at my location until about 10am the next morning.

    However, here in NI we’ve had other memorable events such as the very severe storm in Aug 2003 (although this was an evening storm rather than overnight but had continuous lightning and overlapping thunder).

    Between 2002 and 2017 we had several notable overnight storms (roughly every 2 or maybe 3 years apart) with the last such one (and by that I mean 2 hours or more of thunder and lightning from a multicell) being back in the summer of 2017.

    It’s notable that over the past 5 years there has been much less. Also, the number of classic Spanish plume events that actually produce something over the northern half of Ireland has diminished in recent years. Feels like not even worth looking for those anymore whereas a few years back I’d have been tracking those carefully on the night watching for developments over Irish Sea or Irish midlands that would go on to produce something here in County Antrim.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭glightning

    I agree. And I’m not talking about thundershowers here. I’m talking about 2 to 3 hours of frequent lightning and thunder. Lightning less than 30 secs apart and thunder overlapping.

    Up until 2017, we did have night time storms in NI with frequent lightning and thunder. Some storms with lightning 2 to 3 seconds apart. None since then though. Only afternoon storms. And not particularly long ones either

  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭glightning

    Best storms I’ve seen have been in Florida and Balearic Islands. Also seen an amazing dry lightning storm in Northern California.

    Saw two excellent storms in Majorca in Aug 2019 with continuous lightning and thunder for hours.

    We are heading to Majorca on the 16th. It’s forecast to be hot with some runs showing lifted index of -9. Problem is nothing is showing as initiating on the models as there must be a strong cap in place. Far better chance of something triggering in late Aug / early Sept there rather than July. The 2019 storms weee triggered by an upper low that moved over Spain and Majorca at the time.

    That same year we holidayed in Tenerife last week of October and had a huge storm on the first morning (from 5am onwards) which was very surprising for the Canary Islands! A second storm a lunchtime dumped so much rain the shopping mall we were in was flooding torrents through the roof! Storms we triggered by a developing tropical wave that moved to the south of the Canaries.

  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭glightning

    If this chart came off, then next Fri night could be a mid level lightning fest :-

  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭glightning

    Pinch of salt of course lol, but the orientation of the precip and the situation of slack low pressure moving in is very similar to the 1985 event :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,442 ✭✭✭bad2thebone

    Wow that would be something to look forward to :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,233 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    Thunderstorms are painfully rare in this country, but the picture you paint above is one I don't recognise. We've had some good storms most years. Not on the scale of 85/86 for sure, but good by any other standard.

    New Moon

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,902 ✭✭✭Elmer Blooker

    Are you talking about 1986 because the was a brilliant night storm on Sat/Sun June 28/29 that year, obviously nothing like the previous year which is why it’s forgotten.

    trivia: that Sunday was also the day of the World Cup final when Maradona RIP lifted the trophy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭glightning

    Back to this thread I raised a short while back... Hoping tonight will break my 5 year night time light show curfew :D