Lightning Warning and Detection Technology

IEC 62793-2016 – Protection against lightning: Thunderstorm Warning Systems, offers a useful reference to those looking for guidance on matters involving lightning threat detection.

This standard is useful as it outlines four (4) phases in the evolution of a thunderstorm.

These phases include:

  • Phase 1:      The electric field rises                                                                                                Initial stage
  • Phase 2:      Intra – Cloud (I-C) and Cloud – Cloud (C-C) lightning                             Growth phase
  • Phase 3:      Cloud – Cloud (C-C) and Cloud – Ground (C-G) lightning                     Mature phase
  • Phase 4:      Number of lightning strikes decrease                                                               Dissipation Phase

Four (4)  classes of detection capability are then outlined that classify each of the detection capabilities across the various storm phases, along with the type of lightning discharges that can be measured.

  • Class 1 detectors:      Detect storm activity during a storms entire life cycle                                                    (Phases 1 to 4)
  • Class 2 detectors:      Detect Cloud to Cloud (C-C) and Cloud to Ground (C-G) lightning                          (Phases 2 to 4)
  • Class 3 detectors:      Detect Cloud to Ground (C-G) lightning only                                                                         (Phases 3 and 4)
  • Class 4 detectors:      Detect Cloud to Ground (C-G) lightning only with limited performance.              (Phase 3)

The most widely adopted of all available lightning threat detection technologies that are used in higher risk industries involve ‘ historical’ threat detection (Classes 2 – 4) , whereby lightning activity must have already occurred allowing the lightning to be detected, and then ranged, so that it may then be notified.

True ‘Predictive’  threat warnings are also possible, and which is catered to under IEC 62793-2016- (Class 1) where technology can sense and measure changes in the local electric field during the “Initial” stage -Phase 1, where thresholds can be preset. Once E field thresholds are breached,  this can provide for up to several minutes of advanced early warning that conditions are deteriorating and there is a strong possibility that lightning strikes may occur.


Strike Guard Lightning Warning System

Designed for critical applications, Strike Guard is Class II professional grade threat detection technology, that detects, ranges, and classifies ‘cloud to cloud’ and ‘cloud to ground’ lightning discharges across three (3)  default distance metrics, with zero (0) % False Alarm Rate, whilst providing contact closure signaling at user set lightning activity thresholds for autonomous threat notification.

The Strike Guard technology platform is future proof, in that it can integrate and harmonise a Class I ‘predictive’ Lightning Sensor offering a true prior nature to pre-lightning warnings.


Skyscan Lightning Detectors

The Skyscan range of portable lightning detection equipment operate as instantaneous response detectors (IRD), and are considered as Class IV instruments offering instantaneous notification and ranging of cloud to ground lightning strikes across four (4) distance ranges.

Designed for mining and heavy industrial applications, the Skyscan EWS Pro2 provides high intensity LEDs for better recognition of visual alert notifications, whilst its 105 dB audible horn allows better recognition of audible alerts to be heard over high background noise , that better suit a majority of field use applications.

Thunderbolt2 ‘LightningMan’  Detectors

The ThunderBolt 2 Lightningman detector operates as a delayed response detector (DRD) , where ‘in storm’ lightning data is stored for comparison with subsequent ‘in storm’ lightning data, for comparison, and the determination as to whether there has been an approach towards the users location.

This DRD feature is useful in limiting unnecessary down time where it can be shown that storms within the detectable range, may have already passed the users location, or may be on some non-intercepting transect.


Strike Alert HD Lightning Detector

The StrikeAlert HD is a well featured, budget priced personal lightning detector which includes a full colour graphical LCD  that displays strike distance and a storm intensity trend graph for the past hour of operation.

Note that this technology is battery use only, is not rechargeable, and cannot be powered from AC Mains or DC vehicle power, and may fail any rigorous vetting for use in some higher risk workplace applications.

All Lightning Warning and Detection Products