Comparatively few lightning strikes in Germany in 2023. This is what the measurements of the lightning information service (BLIDS) revealed, which Siemens and the Austrian company OVE Service published on Friday.

The measuring points registered 316,000 lightning strikes nationwide that hit the ground. That was 30 percent more than in 2022, which was not very charged from a meteorological point of view, but less than in many other years.

Last year’s “lightning capital” was Memmingen in the Allgäu with an average of 2.9 lightning strikes per square kilometer. In second place was Pirmasens in the Palatinate Forest (2.8), followed by the Upper Bavarian district of Mühldorf (2.5). The information service found the lowest lightning density in Amberg in the Upper Palatinate (0.08).

Most lightning-rich state

Bavaria as a whole was the state with the most lightning strikes: the measuring stations there registered over 70,000 strikes, more than a fifth of the total number in Germany. The foothills of the Alps in particular – where Memmingen is located – is a comparatively thunderstorm-prone region. But because Bavaria is also the largest federal state, the absolute numbers alone do not provide an exact picture.

Calculating lightning density allows experts to determine where most thunderstorms with lightning and thunder occur, regardless of the size of a federal state. In 2023, Baden-Württemberg was ahead of Bavaria with 1.3 impacts per square kilometer. There were significantly fewer thunderstorms in the far north: at the other end of this table were Hamburg (0.37) and Schleswig-Holstein (0.38).

2023 isn’t very bright in comparison

Both the number of lightning strikes and the municipalities and regions with the most lightning strikes change from year to year depending on the weather. In dry summers there is less lightning, but even a single severe thunderstorm can cause a community to move up in the table.

In a longer-term comparison, 2023 was not very lightning-rich: in 2007, the measuring points registered over a million lightning strikes, in 2020 there were 399,000 and in 2021 491,000. 2022 was a rather quiet year with only 242,000 thunderstorm strikes.

The lightning atlas was published for the last time with the participation of Siemens. The group sold the service to the Austrian company OVE, which took over the 170 measuring stations.