Lightning Maps and Statistics (1999-2008)

Number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in Canada, from 1999 to 2008, broken down by year

The table below shows the number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes recorded in Canada from 1999 to 2008. The numbers range from a maximum of 2.963 million flashes in 2005, to the minimum of 1.984 million flashes in 2008.

Number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in Canada. See long description below.

Number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in Canada. Click for more details.
Yearly number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in Canada from 1999 to 2008
YearMillions of Flashes
19992.6
20002.5
20012.45
20022.4
20032.1
20042.0
20052.95
20062.4
20072.75
20082.5

Average monthly cloud-to-ground lightning in Canada (1999 to 2008)

The table below shows the average number of lightning flashes in Canada, broken down by month. As you can see, July is the month that has the most lightning strikes, followed by August and June. It is interesting to note that lightning is reported in Canada in every month of the year.

Average monthly cloud-to-ground lightning in Canada (1999 to 2008)

Average monthly cloud-to-ground lightning in Canada. Click for more details.
Average monthly
cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in Canada (1999 to 2008)
MonthNumber of Flashes
JanuaryLess than 10, 000
FebruaryLess than 10, 000
MarchLess than 10, 000
April20,000
May110,000
June500,000
July920,000
August600,000
September160,000
October25,000
NovemberLess than 10,000
DecemberLess than 10,000

Average dates for the beginning and ending of lightning season for Western and Eastern Canada

The length of the lightning season varies greatly across Canada, but shows one distinct pattern: the season becomes shorter the farther north one goes. In the North, the average season runs from mid-to-late May until late August-mid September. Over southern Ontario, the average lightning season extends from mid-March to early November. Lightning occurs virtually year round in the Pacific coastal region, over southern Nova Scotia, and offshore. 

Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Western Canada (1999-2008) 

Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Western Canada (1999-2008)

Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2008) 

Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2008)

Average dates for the beginning and ending of lightning season for Western and Eastern Canada. Click for more details.
Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Western and Eastern Canada
(1999-2008)
Area in Province or TerritoryStart DateColour of Start Date
British Columbia - South CoastJanuary 1Dark Blue
British Columbia - North Coast** see note below** see note below
British Columbia - InteriorMarch 15Cyan
British Columbia - High Mountain RangesMay 15Yellow
YukonJune 1Orange
Yukon - South - small areasMay 15Yellow
North West Territories - SouthJune 1Orange
North West Territories - South - small areasMay 15Yellow
North West Territories - North EastJuly 1Red
North West Territories - North*** see note below*** see note below
Nunavut - SouthJune 15Orange-red
Nunavut - South - small areasJuly 1Red
Nunavut - North*** see note below*** see note below
AlbertaMay 15Yellow
Alberta - Southern areasApril 10Light Green
Alberta - Northern sections - small areasJune 1Orange
SaskatchewanMay 15Yellow
Saskatchewan - Southern areasApril 10Light Green
Saskatchewan - Northern sections - small areasJune 1Orange
Manitoba - South Eastern sectionsMarch 15Cyan
ManitobaMay 15Yellow
Manitoba - Northern sections - small areasJune 1Orange
Ontario - SouthMarch 15Cyan
Ontario - Southern - small areasFebruary 1Blue
Ontario - CentralApril 10Light Green
Ontario - Central - small areasMay 15Yellow
Ontario - Central - small areasJune 1Orange
Ontario - NorthMay 15Yellow
Ontario - North - small areasJune 1Orange
Quebec - SouthApril 10Light Green
Quebec - Central - including GaspéMay 15Yellow
Quebec - NorthJune 1Orange
Quebec - far Northern shoresJuly 1Red
New BrunswickApril 10Light Green
New Brunswick - NorthMay 15Yellow
Prince Edward Island (PEI)May 22Yellow-Orange
Nova Scotia - Coastal areasJanuary 1Dark Blue
Nova Scotia - SouthMarch 15Cyan
Nova Scotia - Cape BretonMay 15Yellow
NewfoundlandJune 1Orange
Newfoundland - Southern Coastal areasMarch 15Cyan
Newfoundland - Southern Coast - small areasFebruary 1Blue
LabradorJune 1Orange
Labrador - Southeast - offshoreJuly 1Red

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Western Canada (1999-2008) 

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Western Canada (1999-2008)

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2008) 

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2008)

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Western and Eastern Canada. Click for more details
Average date of the end of the lightning season for Western and Eastern Canada (1999-2008)
Area in Province or TerritoryEnd DateColour of End Date
British Columbia - South CoastDecember 15Red
British Columbia - North Coast** see note below** see note below
British Columbia - InteriorOctober 20Yellow
British Columbia - High Mountain RangesSeptember 15Cyan
Yukon - SouthSeptember 15Cyan
Yukon - NorthAugust 15Blue
North West Territories - SouthSeptember 15Cyan
North West Territories - South - small areasOctober 1Light Green
North West Territories - North*** see note below*** see note below
Nunavut - SouthSeptember 15Cyan
Nunavut - South - small areasOctober 1Light Green
Nunavut - North*** see note below*** see note below
AlbertaSeptember 15Cyan
Alberta - Southern areasOctober 20Yellow
Alberta - Northern sections - small areasSeptember 1Light Blue
SaskatchewanSeptember 15Cyan
Saskatchewan - South - small areasOctober 20Yellow
ManitobaOctober 1Light Green
Manitoba - small areasOctober 20Yellow
Manitoba - South - small areasNovember 1Orange
Manitoba - NorthSeptember 15Cyan
Ontario - SouthNovember 1Orange
Ontario - Southern areasOctober 20Yellow
Ontario - CentralOctober 1Light Green
Ontario - Central - small areasOctober 20Yellow
Ontario - NorthSeptember 15Cyan
Ontario - North - small areasOctober 20Yellow
Quebec - SouthwestOctober 20Yellow
Quebec - SoutheastSeptember 15Cyan
Quebec - Central - including GaspéOctober 1Light Green
Quebec Central - small areasOctober 20Yellow
Quebec - NorthSeptember 15Cyan
Quebec - far Northern shoresAugust 1Blue
New BrunswickOctober 1Light Green
New Brunswick - SouthNovember 1Orange
Prince Edward Island (PEI)October 1Light Green
Nova ScotiaOctober 1Light Green
Nova Scotia - SouthNovember 1Orange
Nova Scotia - Cape BretonOctober 15Yellow
NewfoundlandSeptember 15Cyan
Newfoundland - Southern CoastDecember 15Red
Newfoundland - Southern Coast - small areasNovember 1Orange
LabradorSeptember 15Cyan
Labrador - small western areasOctober 15Yellow

Percentage of lightning occurring between 10:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. local time for Western and Eastern Canada (1999-2008)

Most of us associate lightning with thunderstorms that form during the day, driven by the heating that comes from the sun. However, in some areas of the country nocturnal lightning (lightning that occurs at night) can account for almost half of all lightning. This is seen over portions of east-central Alberta and the southern halves of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with an extreme of 65.7 per cent nocturnal lightning near Quill Lake, Saskatchewan. 

Percentage of lightning occurring between 10:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. local time for Western Canada

Percentage of lightning occurring between 10:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. local time for Western Canada (1999-2008)

Percentage of lightning occurring between 10:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. local time for Eastern Canada

Percentage of lightning occurring between 10:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. local time for Eastern Canada (1999-2008)

Percentage of lightning occurring between 10:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. local time for Western and Eastern Canada. Click for more details.
Percentage of lightning strikes occurring during the night between 10:30 pm and 10:30 am
Area in Province or TerritoryPercentage %Colour Representation
British Columbia - North Coast**0Dark Blue
British Columbia - outer South Coast60Orange/red
British Columbia - inner South Coast20Blue/cyan
British Columbia - Interior10Blue
British Columbia - High Mountain Ranges25Cyan
Yukon - South10Blue
North West Territories10Blue
North West Territories - small areas25Cyan
North West Territories - small Central areas60Orange/red
North West Territories - far North **0Dark Blue
Nunavut - South25Cyan
Nunavut - small Southern areas60Orange/red
Nunavut - North**0Dark Blue
Alberta - areas10Blue
Alberta - Eastern areas and foothills25Cyan
Alberta - central - small area50Orange
Saskatchewan - South40Yellow
Saskatchewan - South central60Orange/red
Saskatchewan - central and North25Cyan
Saskatchewan - North - small areas10Blue
Manitoba - South40Yellow
Manitoba - South - small areas50Orange
Manitoba - North25Cyan
Manitoba - North - small areas10Blue
Ontario - Lake Superior, Northern Georgian Bay60Orange/Red
Ontario25Cyan
Ontario - small areas40Yellow
Quebec10Blue
Quebec - Western areas25Cyan
Quebec - North - small areas60Orange/red
Quebec - Gulf of St. Lawrence60Orange/Red
New Brunswick10Blue
New Brunswick - Southern section - small areas25Cyan
Prince Edward Island (PEI)10Blue
Nova Scotia - offshore and coastal areas - Bay of Fundy60Orange/Red
Nova Scotia25Cyan
Nova Scotia - Cape Breton70Red
Newfoundland - Southeast and offshore70Red
Newfoundland - South25Cyan
Newfoundland - North10Blue
Labrador - Southeast- offshore60Red

Fast Canadian lightning facts

  • The approximate number of cloud to ground lightning flashes detected in Canada since the Canadian Lightning Detection Network (CLDN) began in 1998 is 23.5 million. 
  • The average number of lightning flashes per year in Canada is 2.3549 million.
  • The minimum number of lightning flashes in Canada in one year was 1.9835 million in 2008.
  • The maximum number of lightning flashes in Canada in one year was 2.9631 million in 2005.
  • The northern most lightning flash detected in Canada was 70.8811 degrees North, 130.5910 degrees West (over eastern Beaufort Sea north of Tuktoyaktuk)
  • The month that is likely to have the most number of lightning flashes in Canada is July.
  • The most frequent time of day for lightning is between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time.
  • The greatest 10-year average number of days with lightning in Canada is an average of 35.9 a year, near Harrow, Ontario.
  • The Canadian region with the greatest annual number of days with lightning is inland of the north shore of Lake Erie near Highgate, Ontario.
  • The Canadian city with the greatest number of days with lightning in any one year is Windsor, Ontario, which had 47 days of lightning.