As late-night storms rolled southeast from Minnesota through Iowa last night, they brought along a .75" hail near Hazleton and Dubuque, a 63 MPH wind gust in Buchanan county near Aurora ----- and crazy amounts of lightning. If you were awake anywhere in Eastern Iowa, you certainly could see the show.

So far this year in Iowa, lighting has caused two house fires. Thunderstorms moved across northeast Iowa during the early morning of April 6th. A lightning strike from one of these storms started a house fire outside of Charles City. The damage to the home was contained to the attic and roof. No injuries occurred. Earlier this morning in Dubuque, the fire department was called at 2:17 after lightning struck an apartment building causing a fire that damaged two apartments. Nobody was injured.

621 lightning strikes were logged between 12:25 – 1:25 AM in a 50-mile area between West Union and Walker.

In the Clayton County area, along the Mississippi River around 1:30 AM, there was a report of at least 70 lightning strikes per minute.

This is the density of lightning strikes between 11:45 PM 7/27 and 1:45 AM 7/28:

Below is a lightning density map from 2020. Last year Iowa reported 2,608,791 lightning strikes, 48% less than what was reported from 2015-2019.

Globally, there are about 40 to 50 flashes of lightning every second, or nearly 1.4 billion flashes per year. Florida has the highest frequency of lightning in the United States.

The world's top lightning hotspot is over Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela where thunderstorms occur on average about 297 days per year and produce an average of about 232 lightning flashes / square kilometer/year.

So far this month in Waterloo, there has only been around two hours of thunder, well below the average of over six hours/month. In fact, every month this year has had below-average amounts of thunder.

Iowa Environmental Mesonet

The Quad Cities area has also had a below-average amount of thunder this year, except for the month of June, which was nearly double the average.

Iowa Environmental Mesonet

The same can be said for Cedar Rapids, below average reports of Thunder in 2021, except for the month of June:

Iowa Environmental Mesonet


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