After that amazing display of lightning this past Thursday night we had several questions about the how the lightning strikes are detected and then placed on a map. There are several private companies that provide this data, but it all starts with the National Lightning Detection Network. This is made up of over 100 ground-based sensing instruments that instantaneously detect electromagnetic signals. These antennae sense a pulse of radio frequency that is emitted by a lightning strike. You can actually hear this frequency in the static of an AM radio. Once the strike is detected, within seconds the software processes the location, time, polarity, and amplitude. The system will then triangulate from multiple locations to determine the location. From this network we can map the strikes in real-time on 13 WHAM. It should be noted that these strike locations can produce errors depending on the intensity of the storm. This particular night produced thousands of cloud to ground strikes across New York State.