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Siemens’ lightning atlas: Speyer is Germany’s “lightning capital” in 2019 – a year low in lightning activity

“Germany, Central and Western Europe did not see much lightning activity in 2019 at all. We recorded a low number of thunderstorms and significantly fewer ground flashes,” said Stephan Thern, head of Siemens’ lightning information service. “It was simply too dry, and thunderstorms require heat and moisture. In 2019, there were 13 days with more than 10,000 lightning strikes in Germany. With a relatively small urban area such as that of Speyer, a few thunderstorms are enough for the final analysis to show a high lightning density,” the expert continued. “For the two northern cities in second and third place, Rostock and Lübeck, the proximity to the Baltic Sea probably plays a role.” 
In 2019, the main months for thunderstorm activity were June and July. The highest number of strikes – 24,245 – was recorded on June 12, 2019. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg were the German states most affected, followed by Saxony. BLIDS detected the highest number of measured ground flashes in a single German state – just under 8,500 – in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on June 12, followed by Bavaria with 6,400 on July 10. Among the German states, Berlin took a clear lead with 2.2 flashes per square kilometer, followed by Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with a flash density of 1.4, while the city states of Hamburg and Bremen brought up the rear with only 0.5 flashes per square kilometer, respectively. Topping the list of state capitals was Potsdam (2.3), followed by Berlin and Munich (1.2). Saarbrücken (0.4) and Erfurt (fewer than 0.5) were the state capitals with the lowest number of lightning strikes in 2019.
An average of 0.9 lightning strikes per kilometer were registered in Germany in 2019. In 2018, the figure was still 1.3. Compared to its neighbors, the country is in the middle of the pack. Measured lightning densities across Europe range from 0.03 (Ireland and Scotland) to highs of 8-10 in and around Trieste, a city in the tri-border region of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. In 2019, the countries bordering the Adriatic Sea and the Italian Riviera were among the continent’s most active thunderstorm regions. Various lightning information service providers in the individual countries contribute to the European results. “The provision of a homogeneous, European measurement network – despite standards that differ from country to country – is the result of the excellent cooperation and coordination of the various weather and measurement services across Europe,” said Stephan Thern. “This network ensures that the measurement data provided to customers and users all has the same quality.”
Siemens’ lightning information service uses around 160 connected measurement stations in Europe and supports the measurement network in Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Benelux, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Due to the system’s precise measurement technology, its sensors can be set up without difficulty at intervals of 350 kilometers, significantly reducing the cost of installation, operation and maintenance. “With the latest software, we can detect – to an accuracy of 50 meters – where exactly lightning has just struck,” said Stephan Thern. 
Since 1991, Siemens has been analyzing detected lightning strikes and immediately sending warning notices to its thunderstorm alarm customers – to protect people, technology and infrastructure. Customers of Siemens’ lightning information service are meteorological services, insurance providers, industrial companies across all sectors and power grid operators, (sport) facilities and, more recently, fire departments. “BLIDS helps to determine whether a strike of lightning has caused damage or a breakdown,” said Stephan Thern. Lightning strikes cause a great deal of damage to electrical appliances. The highly sensitive electronics usually found in televisions, satellite receivers, washing machines and industrial control systems, for example, can even be damaged if lighting strikes a great distance away. Having proof of this results in a cost saving for consumers and end users since lightning strikes are usually covered by insurance. 
Thanks to advancing digitalization and the rapid increase in computing and storage capacities, BLIDS enables data to be transmitted more precisely and at an increasingly faster rate – now less than ten seconds after a lightning strike. The lightning information service also provides cloud-based solutions to enable customers to have lightning information on their computers and mobile devices.
This press release and infographics are available at  (German only)
Further information on BLIDS are available at (German only)
Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. The company is active around the globe, focusing on the areas of intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems, and automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries. Through the separately managed companies Siemens Energy, the global energy business of Siemens, and Siemens Mobility, a leading supplier of smart mobility solutions for rail and road transport, Siemens is shaping the energy systems of today and tomorrow as well as the world market for passenger and freight services. Due to its majority stakes in the publicly listed companies Siemens Healthineers AG and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (as part of Siemens Energy), Siemens is also a world-leading supplier of medical technology and digital healthcare services as well as environmentally friendly solutions for onshore and offshore wind power generation. In fiscal 2019, which ended on September 30, 2019, Siemens generated revenue of €86.8 billion and net income of €5.6 billion. At the end of September 2019, the company had around 385,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet
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Bernhard Lott

Siemens AG

+49 174-1560693

Julia Wiemer

Siemens AG

+49 173-5901277