Stunning footage shows much of the US lit up with bright lightning as it spreads across the country.
The video – taken by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – comes from a brand new satellite launched to survey weather over the US. It allows scientists and weather experts to see activity above the Western Hemisphere in unprecedented detail.
The data shown in the video can be used to plot where lightning is striking. That, in turn, allows them to predict whether intense weather and storms might be forming and then becoming dangerous – potentially allowing experts to spot deadly storms before they actually arrive.
It will also allow them to watch storms as they travel, even before the lightning has actually struck. That can be important in particularly dry areas, where lightning storms could spark forest fires that can cause vast amounts of damage and endanger life.
The video was sent from the GOES-17 satellite, which was recently launched and is currently being tested out.
Soon, the satellite will move over to the West, above the Pacific Ocean, where it will track weather systems and environmental hazards. When it does so it will become known as GOES-West, and join another satellite called GOES-East in giving NOAA the ability to track much of the globe.
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