Winifred talked about the amazing power of lightning and that there are two types; natural and triggered. She also pointed out that the areas now posited as ‘best’ locations for the Space Elevator (for example, on the equator – west of the Galapagos Islands) have much less lightning that other areas do, but that the number of lightning strikes even there is not zero – it must be planned for. She also talked about how lightning hurt (but did not destroy) the Apollo 12 mission and that lightning did destroy an Atlas Centaur launch.
She also talked about rain and the problems it causes and noted that much less data has been captured about weather over ocean locations than it has for land locations and so satellite weather gathering will be key. Satellites can also capture sea surface temperature and current data, knowledge of both of which will almost certainly be needed to run a Space Elevator.
Finally, she showed how all this data can be used to forecast the weather at a Space Elevator Base station, something which will be absolutely critical for a successful operation.