Where have all the Thunderstorms gone?

Last night, the weather was sticky with sweltering heat and humidity. I left the windows open throughout the night, hoping to be awoken by a thunderstorm. Yes, I love thunderstorms. Actually I like all kind of storms. But a light rain was all I got this morning.

I haven’t seen a thunderstorm in many years now. This is all the more puzzling because I remember experiencing many thunderstorms when I was a child. Waking up at night and running downstairs into my parents’ bedroom was a regular occurrence. I also remember many a times when a thunderstorm caught me playing in the forest and forced me to seek cover, hoping that the tree I was hiding next to would not be the one struck by lightning. Later, I always cherished the amazing beauty of driving along a highway towards the darkened sky being criss-crossed by lightning on the horizon.

But in the past years, I haven’t seen any thunderstorm. None, zero, zilch. I might overestimate the frequency of thunderstorms in my early childhood because of the initial traumatic nature (until I began to cherish this extreme weather), but I am sure there were much more than zero.

Research suggests that the number of thunderstorms remains pretty constant over time. So where have all the thunderstorms gone?

The following map shows the lightning frequencies in different parts of the world:

To satisfy my lust for thunderstorms, it seems I should move to Congo, or more generally closer to the equator.

What is your experience? Do you see more or less thunderstorms than in the past? And where have you seen the most, the best, the strongest?

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
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48 Responses to Where have all the Thunderstorms gone?

  1. Sara says:

    I saw the most AMAZING thunderstorm of my life last week. It was absolutely brilliant, with thousands of lightening bolts streaking the sky in rapid succession accompanied by a symphony of window rattling thunder for well over an hour. Alas, this spectacle occurred along the shores of Lake Albert in northwest Uganda, at the border of the Congo.

    Go there. You won’t be disappointed by mother natures wrath.

    • Central Africa is worth a trip for many reasons already, but this adds a further incentive.
      (And I am glad to read that you are still travelling frequently to adventurous places.)

  2. Michael C Hunt says:

    we have one a day in Kuala Lumpur. Also regularly in Cumbria. What we don’t have here is chemtrails.

    • Simon Silvie says:

      I live in south Cumbria (admittedly in 2019) and I haven’t seen a proper thunder storm in years, maybe dacades

  3. I too love thunderstorms – luckily on Saturday night we had one – it was brilliant and it was not to far from where I live – I did set-up my camera to see if I could catch the lightening strike but unfortunately I need more practice with the settings of the camera. We are expecting another thunder-storm next few days – so I look forward to it.

  4. John Erickson says:

    Lately, you could come to the US Southeast and get your fill of thunderstorms. The weather has been NUTS around an area from Mississippi along the Gulf Coast and up the Atlantic seaboard up to southern Virginia. I have a blog friend who lives Alabama, and I think she would be VERY grateful if she never saw a storm, especially a tornado-spawning one, for the rest of her life (she lost a close family friend).
    I can’t really tell where I live right now. We’re in a strange little “bowl”, surrounded by low hills which tumble the predominating winds. It rains here (within about a square kilometre) when the surrounding areas are dry. We get winds that literally change direction by 180 degrees. Then again, it could be the pyromanic tendenies of folks around here to burn ANYTHING – garbage, tires, debris, cars…..

    • John Erickson says:

      You could DEFINITELY have some of ours! This spring has been so nuts with the weather in the US South. Alabama savaged, Joplin Missouri wiped out, and now happenings in Indiana I haven’t had a chance to read about yet. At least we dodged what was supposed to be a really bad storm front, here in Ohio.
      Keep the folks in Missouri and Alabama in your thoughts – they’re trying to rebuild entire towns. Let’s hope they can dodge any more bad storms.

  5. What a coincidence: First, I don’t experience a thunderstorm in years. And then, only two weeks after writing this post, there was finally a thunderstorm in London, albeit only a small one.

  6. Yoho man says:

    I have been noticing the lack of thunderstorms when I was young there were loads,lightning , hail and buch bigger rain storms.where have they gone?

  7. Darryl says:

    I live in Virginia on the Potomac River. While it rains here, I have not seen a thunderstorm in years…

  8. jethro says:

    I live in virginia close to the NC boarder I to have noticed the decrees in the storms of my child and early adult. Hood I’m 30 now and have allways loved the sheer wonder of this beautiful storms thounder so strong it rattled the house and lightning so brite it could turn darkness to day light but they have gone I googled were have they gone and found I’m not the only one that has noticed.

  9. Missi says:

    We live in Massachusetts and I’ve told my kids they don’t know what thunderstorms are. I remember them lasting hours sometimes but haven’t heard one longer then 15 mins in years…yea where did they go?

  10. Mr. Tired of Geoengineering says:

    My experience is this: you’re right! My childhood was the same. Since the 1990s electrical storms haved declined to almost zero. My answer: the answer is over your head! Covert aerosol geoengineering of the troposphere. Look up on practically any day. One jet after another leaving “contrails” which spread out into “high thin clouds” blocking the sun. This could be weather modification, solar radiation management, or worse, or all. It is underway. Since 2012 it has ramped up globally. There is almost no days of blue sky and sunshine. My 46 year life was filled with sun and deep blue skies replaced by blinding white aerosols covering the sky 90% of the time. Please study it and make your friends and family aware. Look up!!! Mad scientists at the helm. I am a scientist by the way.

  11. Jake "The Snake" McDougall says:

    I’m from CT — I haven’t seen a good thunderstorm since around 2006. It’s really upsetting, since I LOVE THUNDERSTORMS! When I ask the people I know if they noticed this major decrease in thunderstorm activity, they just shrug and say something like, “Huh? I dunno…” How a lot of people stumble blindly through life really perplexes me.

    • That’s sad indeed. It seems like many people are spending a large part of their lives online, at the same time withdrawing from real life.

  12. Kat says:

    I agree that the frequency of thunderstorms has dropped considerably since I was a child. But so has snow storms. I remember Texas getting snow and I recall the excitement of knowing there would be no school. It wasn’t as glorious as say a Colorado snow storm, but we did make snow candy and snow angels. My dad says that when he was a boy the brazis river froze completely solid almost every year but the severity of Texas winters has greatly diminished since his own childhood leaving Texas winters a myth.

    • Even in Germany, which is much farther north than Texas, winters have diminished. During my childhood in the 1970s and 1980s, there was continuous snow every winter (which also meant that it was no reason to cancel school, sadly). Now, there is a little bit of snow here and there, and when it snows for a few days people think it’s a reason to panic.
      Shocking to see how drastically the weather/climate changes even over a relatively short time.

  13. David Bogle says:

    Still thunderstorms in Oklahoma; however, i live in Kansas and they are very diminished there.

  14. Don says:

    I was thinking the exact same thing! I grew up in the 80’s and it always seemed like we had more storms back then and more severe ones. We get a few storms during the summer but nothing like before.

  15. Dani says:

    I’ve noticed the same thing. We have a couple here in Michigan, but nothing like we used to. When they come, few answer far between, they don’t last more than an hour or two.

  16. Stephen says:

    My observation is that thunderstorms do not exist anymore. I love them and I have not seen one for 2 to 3 years and there used to be 5 to 10 every year my whole life previously. I feel like the state of Indiana is becoming a desert.

    • Really strange, isn’t it?
      I have experienced one recently in Germany, but it only reminded me again of how more regular they used to be.

  17. Lauren says:

    I agree!!! It’s so disappointing — here in Ohio there are rarely thunderstorms. Like you said, as a Child I can remember them being a weekly or at least monthly experience! So strange that they seem to just be nonexistent anymore.

  18. Mark says:

    Yes all the thunderstorms have gone because they’re controlling the weather it’s a shame there’s no more lightning and thunderstorms anymore in New York or Brooklyn or whatever on East Costilla I know they still have them up in Montreal when I used to go up there many years ago in the 60s but no more hear a lot of things have gone……..mark

  19. PATRICIA HELMS says:

    I live in Utah I haven’t seen hardly any thunderstorm since I was a little girl I guess it kind of quit through the last 50 years I don’t remember ever seeing a big thunderstorm here

  20. Doing a Google search for the same idea, got me to this blog. I too am so very curious where the thunderstorms have gone. I miss it so badly, I have found a sound track from YouTube of thunderstorm and rain on a tent, (search words to help you find the soundtrack), that I play every night simply to help me sleep. I believe the American government is manipulating our skys and atmosphere to suit their needs. Contrails, yes, that is a BAD thing American government/military is doing. Please, look me up on Facebook, Richard Lines, Memphis, TN.

  21. I’m chiming back in with a follow-up report….and, with suspicion. So, here we are, making comments on a blog about having not seen so many thunderstorms over the past 10+yrs, and lo-and-behold, this past week, the Memphis/Mid-South got a rolling thunderstorm that came across Memphis. I slept through the first part of it, with excitement, I might add, but, I did fall alseep. Woke up about an hour later, storm still cracking across the sky, looked out my north-facing window and saw a beautiful streak of lightning, bolt across the sky and then heard several more cracks and thunderous sounds that was soothing, fun and amazing to contemplate the power of nature. But, consider this….was it my prayers and my special connection to nature, or, did our government, some specially tasked group that flipped a switch, executed a plan and manipulated a thunderstorm to pass through….? hummmm…. this blog started back in 2011 and several posts during that time frame, continuing the “no thunderstorms” theme, then, I post and within a month, thunderstorm is experienced in my area…..

    • John Barnes says:

      It’s your connection to the universe. You had a desire and the universe provided it. I haven’t noticed a thunderstorm either, that’s why I’m on here, but I feel like I’m going to notice one soon because of the #LawOfAttraction. lol
      Your reality is yours for the making. Ciao!

  22. Miranda says:

    I remember running down the hall to my grandparents bedroom and shivering in terror after be awoken from a strong thunderstorm and the loud thunder making me jump everytime and it seemed like it lasted hours on end. Into my teenage years I learned to love a thunderstorm and would always manage be caught out in it but it was always the best feeling. As I’ve got into my adult years I’ve noticed less and less thunderstorms. Like today for example their was supposed to be one but the thunder hit, saw a few lightning strikes, and rain fell quickly and it was over in less than 5 minutes. So that’s a wonderful question. Where has the thunderstorms gone? I live in Ohio so weather is constantly changing but the last good one I remember that scared the daylights out of my son for the first time was a couple weeks ago and it only lasted about a half hour. I miss it. But it could just be our imaginations as a kid thinking its the end of time.

    • I have been wondering the same, if I just remember more and fiercer thunderstorms from childhood because I used to be scared. Now I love and enjoy them.
      But there also seems to be a geographic difference because I recently met a lady from Peru who experienced her first thunderstorm on holiday in Spain. She was terrified because she didn’t know what was happening.

  23. M says:

    I agree! In fact, I asked Google if thunderstorms are less common now than in my childhood (latte 1950s), which is how I came across your post. Like you, I remember frequent night-time dashes to Mum and Dad’s room as thunder crashed outside and lightening threw scary patterns across my bedroom walls. And leaving the front door open as an escape route for lightening bolts that might come down the chimney.
    My grandchildren don’t know what I’m talking about, though, because they have hardly ever seen one!

    I find it hard to believe that frequency has barely changed. So – don’t come to Somerset UK on your thunderstorm quest! Loads of rain; few thunderstorms!!

  24. Old post. But here we are 2019.. haven’t seen a real thunder storm in many years. The weather is being modified much like our food. Sad planet.

  25. Michael Crozier says:

    The best lighting storms I’ve seen, was here in my State of Maine. Of course this was years ago as a kid growing up. I live in Lisbon Maine now, and I swear every huge thunderstorm coming for us wimps out or suddenly goes right around us only to reform again as it passes by. It happens so often It’s obvious lol. Every summer we wait for that perfect thunderstorm. All other parts of our state gets them all summer long! Not Lisbon, we only get the left overs, and rain, while off in the far distance is a huge home shaker. It is kinda frustrating. Time, and time again, a server thunderstorm warrning for our area is nothing less then super dark clouds rolling around, and passing us by yet again, and again. We have deffiently noticed a huge change in numbers of good ol thunderstorms. Weird!!!???

  26. Lolo says:

    Ive been on the east coast..south Jersey as a child and there were severe storms constantly. Now there seem to be none! Ever!

  27. Shane says:

    A few minutes ago I looked at my wife and asked what happened to all the thunderstorms? it seems the past 15 years hasn’t wielded any hardcore thunderstorms I enjoyed falling to sleep to them when I was younger or perhaps they seemed bigger and longer because I was little. but I remember the dog going crazy for long periods of time so really I couldn’t have made that all up.!!

    • First of all, whenever you and your wife are wondering about something, I hope you will turn to my blog. :-)

      And I have been wondering the same: if thunderstorms just seemed fiercer and scarier in childhood, when I always ran down to my parents. And now, when I would love to open the window, they never show up. (I smoke cigars, and the air of a thunderstorm or also strong rainfall makes it much more enjoyable.)
      When I was in South America, I experienced more thunderstorms during the rainy season.

  28. Kathy Dowell says:

    Thunderstorms appear to have decreased since I was a child. I miss them. There was a brief one today and I am enjoying the petrichor (afterglow) of this short-lived rain. That too—when there is a storm, it does not last nearly as long as I recall from my younger days. I was born in 1955.

    • Chrissy says:

      Yes, I too remember many, many more thunderstorms rolling through the Grand Rapids, Michigan area as a child. My brother and I often talk about our childhood (middle to late 1970’s into the early 80’s) and reflect on the many storms that would “train” through our city particularly during the nighttime hours. One after another, multiple rounds with heavy rain and frequent loud crashes of thunder. When one storm rolled through another was quickly on its heels. I remember hearing the deep growl of thunder in the distance slowly getting louder and louder. We kmew it was just a matter of time before it would be overhead and we would yet again be hovering under out blankets or running to our parents bedroom! It is now 2019 and really nothing but just rain. Hardly a rumble of thunder or a flash of lightning anymore. Boooooring!!

  29. Tatiana says:

    Hello. I am from Slovakia and I also noticed that there are no storms anymore! Its weird. I’ve also had experienced frequent storms in summer as a child but now its almost non-existent and I’m wondering why.

  30. Scott Meyn says:

    I only googled this and came to this site because I live in the United States in Mississippi and I’m wondering the same thing. In the 80’s the storms would have pink and blue lightning very often.

  31. Okamifan1 says:

    You are a jerk cause you like thunderstorms. I wish they didn’t exist. They are scary, and shouldn’t be a thing.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Like others, I did a Google search and found this blog. I’m glad there are other people who share my perception. Thunderstorms seemed much more prevalent in my childhood (the 1990s).

    I wonder if it really is just a perception or not. Perhaps weather patterns are changing in certain parts of the world due to climate change, and the changes are still too subtle to be picked up by researchers. Whatever the case, if the phenomenon is real it almost certainly hasn’t been created by some evil government’s secret plan (seriously, why would you peg this on a shaky conspiracy theory when there’s a scientifically viable theory *right there*?). Jet fuel spilling out into the atmosphere is bad, just not for the reasons some think.

    I took a quick look for some data on this subject in my area and it turns out it’s not well-documented. This surprised me because I’d have thought weather data would be stored and publicly available going back decades. All that I found was that there apparently hasn’t been an increase in thunderstorms here despite ground temperatures increasing. The study also measured thunderstorm hours, but I think many people in this comments section are thinking more about severity, which might be harder to quantify.

    Climate problem, or memory problem? Fascinating to think about.

    • With all the feedback like yours that I have been getting over the years, I am really glad I put the question out there.

      I still haven’t gotten any wiser, but you have given me an idea. Because you dated your childhood to the 1990s, and mine was more 1970s/1980s, I am thinking that we should find out if it’s a memory problem if we ask enough people with childhoods in different decades. If our parents have the same feeling about their childhoods in the 1950s/60s, that would suggest that it’s a memory thing indeed. Maybe thunderstorms just seemed scarier to us when we were little.

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