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Lightning Maps and Statistics (1999-2013)

Number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in Canada, from 1999 to 2013, broken down by year

The table below shows the number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes recorded in Canada from 1999 to 2013. The numbers range from a maximum of 2.963 million flashes in 2005, to the minimum of 1.5709 million flashes in 2009.

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 2013
YearMillions of Flashes
19992.6
20002.5
20012.45
20022.4
20032.1
20042.0
20052.95
20062.4
20072.75
20082.0
20091.6
20102.2
20112.3
20122.25
20132.2

Average monthly cloud-to-ground lightning in Canada (1999 to 2013)

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 2013)

Average monthly cloud-to-ground lightning in Canada. Click for more details.
Average monthly
cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in Canada (1999 to 2013)
MonthNumber of Flashes
JanuaryLess than 10, 000
FebruaryLess than 10, 000
MarchLess than 10, 000
April20,000
May110,000
June490,000
July895,000
August595,000
September150,000
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 (1999-2013) 

Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Western Canada (1999-2013). See below for more details.

Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2013) 

Average date of beginning of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2013). See below for more details.

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
(1999-2013)
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
British Columbia - Southeast MountainsApril 10Light green
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 - Southeastern sections - small areasMarch 15Cyan
Saskatchewan - Northern sections - small areasJune 1Orange
Manitoba - Southern 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 - Western sections - small areasMarch 15Cyan
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 - Western sections - small areasMay 15Yellow
Labrador - Southeast - offshoreJuly 1Red

** There are very few lightning strikes on the North Coast, but lightning strikes can occur all year round.

*** There are very few lightning strikes detected in the far north of Canada. For this reason, it is difficult to pinpoint when the lightning season begins and ends there. That said, the vast majority of lightning strikes occur in July and early August.

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Western Canada (1999-2013) 

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Western Canada (1999-2013). See below for more details.

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2013) 

Average date of the end of the lightning season for Eastern Canada (1999-2013). See below for more details.

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 (1999-2013)
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 - Central Interior - small areasNovember 1Orange
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 1Light Green
Alberta - Northern sections - small areasSeptember 1Light Blue
SaskatchewanSeptember 15Cyan
Saskatchewan - South - small areasOctober 1Light Green
ManitobaOctober 1Light Green
Manitoba - small areasOctober 20Yellow
Manitoba - South - small areasNovember 15Orange
Manitoba - NorthSeptember 15Cyan
Ontario - SouthNovember 15Orange
Ontario - Southern areasOctober 20Yellow
Ontario - Southern areas - small areasDecember 1Orange-Red
Ontario - CentralOctober 1Light Green
Ontario - Central - small areasOctober 20Yellow
Ontario - NorthSeptember 15Cyan
Ontario - North - small areasOctober 1Light Green
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 - South - small areasNovember 15Orange
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 1Light Green

** There are very few lightning strikes on the North Coast, but lightning strikes can occur all year round.

*** There are very few lightning strikes detected in the far north of Canada. For this reason, it is difficult to pinpoint when the lightning season begins and ends there. That said, the vast majority of lightning strikes occur in July and early August.

Percentage of lightning occurring between 10:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. local time for Western and Eastern Canada (1999-2013)

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 (1999-2013). See below for more details.

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 (1999-2013). See below for more details.

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
Yukon10Blue
Yukon - Central - small areas25Cyan
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 areas40Yellow
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 areas40Yellow
Manitoba - North - small areas10Blue
Ontario - Lake Superior, Northern Georgian Bay60Orange/Red
Ontario25Cyan
Ontario - small areas40Yellow
Quebec10Blue
Quebec - South shores25Cyan
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
Labrador10Blue
Labrador - Southeast- offshore60Red

** There are very few lightning strikes on the North Coast, but lightning strikes can occur all year round.

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 34.0 million. 
  • The average number of lightning flashes per year in Canada is 2.2638 million.
  • The minimum number of lightning flashes in Canada in one year was 1.5709 million in 2009.
  • 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 detected at 74.004 degrees North and 102.6924 degrees West, over Viscount Melville Sound, Northwest of Prince of Wales Island. The lightning strike was recorded on August 11, 2003.
  • 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 6 p.m. local time.
  • The greatest 10-year average number of days with lightning in Canada is an average of 32.3 a year, near Harrow, Ontario.
  • The Canadian region with the greatest annual number of days with lightning in any one year 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 in 2006.