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Nuku’alofa – January 10, 2023 : 10.35am (Nuku’alofa Times): Local Christian church leaders have been asked to include prayers and thanksgiving in their normal Sunday service programs on January 15, 2023 in memorial of the January 15, 2022 volcano and tsunami.

Government, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, is coordinating the event with church leaders.

The event 12 months ago caused damages costing millions of dollars and left hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that when the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted in January 2022, it sent shockwaves around the world. Not only did it trigger widespread tsunami waves, but it also belched an enormous amount of climate-warming water vapor into the Earth’s stratosphere.

Now researchers in a new report have unveiled something else: the eruption set off more than 25,500 lightning events in just five minutes. Over the course of just six hours, the volcano triggered nearly 400,000 lightning events. Half of all the lightning in the world was concentrated around this volcano at the eruption’s peak.

The “cataclysmic eruption” shattered “all records,” according to the report from Vaisala, an environmental monitoring company that tracks lightning around the world.

“It’s the most extreme concentration of lightning that we’ve ever detected,” Chris Vagasky, meteorologist and lightning expert at Vaisala, told CNN. “We’ve been detecting lightning for 40 years now, and this is really an extreme event.”

One-minute snapshots of lightning over the Tonga volcano eruption on January 15. The lightning surrounded the volcano "in distinctive ring patterns during the peak of the eruption," Vaisala reports.

The annual report by Vaisala found that 2022 was a year of extremes for lightning. Lightning increased in the US in 2022, with more than 198 million lightning strokes — 4 million more than what was observed in 2021, and 28 million more than 2020.

“We are continuing an upward trend in lightning,” Vagasky said.

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