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New App Tells You When Lightning Is Nearby

WeatherBug Lightning App
A new app from WeatherBug, called Spark, can alert users to lightning strikes nearby or in saved locations. (Image credit: Earth Networks - WeatherBug)

The arrival of spring also ushers in severe weather season, with thunderstorms — and the lightning they produce — rolling across the country. Knowing where this weather is, and if it's close by, can be key to keeping yourself out of dangerous situations.

A new app from WeatherBug, called Spark, tells you where the nearest lightning strike is to you, based on data from the Total Lightning Network (run by WeatherBug's parent company, Earth Networks) and your phone's GPS location. You can also check for lightning near saved locations — the beach or the golf course you're hoping to hit up, perhaps.

And the app doesn't just tell you where cloud-to-ground lightning (what most of us think of when we hear the word) is, it also lets you know when there is lightning within clouds, according to WeatherBug's press release. The app is available on Android and iPhone platforms for $2.99.

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Andrea Thompson

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.