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StormPredator version 3.1 and later now offers a lightning strike imagery display! --THIS FEATURE HAS BEEN REMOVED--

SP3.1 is the first commercially available desktop radar program to offer lightning imagery for every NEXRAD radar site in the USA. It is a FREE UPGRADE for our registered Version 3.x users. No subscription fees are required to any third party data service. The lightning strike imagery matches the radar display exactly, and provides looping of lightning strike images combined with any other NEXRAD product or overlay. (sample at left shows strikes only).


TRIAL VERSION USERS For those that wish to see how the lightning display works, or for registered users that simply want to see how a long history of lightning images works, we have two storm history files that playback the lightning imagery in stunning action. You can simply download to your hard disk, unzip to a folder, then use the "Replay History" button in the "Save/Print" section of SP3 to load and play the entire storm event.

A reduced size animated GIF of one of them is shown at left. Notice the storm cell tracks.
 See full sized animation here

Download lightning history files for playback in StormPredator from:  Indianapolis (22 frames, 12 MB) or Nashville (72 frames 49MB) 

 
Lightning Imagery:

Using private lightning data we have purchased from NLDN, we now offer strike imagery on our own server via FTP access free of charge for StormPredator Version 3.1 registered owners. To use it you must register with your name and email address. This information is kept private, and you will not be spammed or assigned to mailing lists. It is used purely to provide an FTP account and login username/password combination which is done automatically. Once your initial registration is completed, your login to our FTP server to fetch lightning imagery is automatic, just like accessing radar images from the NWS.

Lightning imagery in StormPredator is rendered on the IntelliWeather server system from data provided by a third party private company, NLDN. For that reason, this imagery is provided at the sole discretion of NLDN's services and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Unlike radar data from the NWS, lightning data is not public domain.

Users can now have lightning strikes for the last radar image update interval displayed like any other layer. Each time SP goes to fetch a new radar image, it will also fetch a new lightning image. This is done to synchronize radar and lightning images so that looping looks correct. Typically a single lightning image contains lightning strikes for the last 5 minutes.

You can turn the lightning layer on/off using the standard "Layers" dialog using either the F9 key of from the main menu using the "Layers" button.

User controls are in place for color, and type of strike information to display, such as strike colors changing over time, or strike colors represent intensity. See the sample image below to see how the lightning strikes trail off as the storms advance. In this example, the radar echoes layer was turned off to make the lightning strikes more visible.



Lightning colors get darker over time (about 2 hours) and you can clearly see where there are active thunderstorm cells and cell paths. In this sample, radar echoes were turned off, but you can control them and lightning just like any other layer. Lightning imagery can be looped just like any other layer component and feature a unique trail-off color scheme so that older strikes gradually fade off the loop.

Note that lightning imagery must be collected as SP runs, there is no set of lightning history images available. A new lightning image will be added each time SP3 fetches a radar image and is added automatically to the loop set.


Setting Up Lightning Options

Choose the Settings then Lightning buttons from the SP menu

You'll first see the dialog like the one below.

Here is a brief description of each option and its function:

Color Scale
This allows you to setup a gradient of colors to represent the lightning strikes either by age or intensity. Double click on either end point to change colors and create a new color gradient. The default blue tones color gradient works very well to show age and lightning strike paths over time. We recommend trying it as is before changing colors.

Color Represents...
Check one or the other. The default is "Color represents the age of a lightning strike"

Slider Control
This allows you to eliminate older strikes from the imagery. The default is set to 120 minutes. Note that when you leave strikes on screen for longer periods of time, "paths" of storms can be plotted using lightning strikes as they advance across the landscape. If you are only interested in what is happening right now, set it to a lower number like 5 minutes.

Select display size
This allows you to choose a size for the points that represent a lightning strike. The default is 1x1. Larger pixels than 2x2 may blend together leaving uncertainty on location of individual strikes.

Note that you can use the location tool of SP to get a latitude or longitude of a lightning strike or measure distances.