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Tower lightning in North Carolina: Lightning strikes not twice, but five times: April 10, 2004

CHASE VIDEO: Lightning strikes television towers in Clayton, NC

RALEIGH, NC - Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice, right? You might want to rethink that myth while you watch a tall television tower during a storm. As thunderstorms rolled across the Raleigh metro area on Saturday afternoon, the trio of television towers in the Garner area were struck repeatedly by lightning - five times in ten minutes, to be exact. Occasionally, two or three of the towers took direct hits simultaneously. The towers (one of which hosts the WRAL TV station transmitter) are prominent icons in the Raleigh area, with their white flashing strobes visible for over 20 miles away. Towers of this size and height are guaranteed lightning targets when storms pass overhead, with multiple direct strikes very common. When multiple towers are present, many lightning discharge events will hit two or more of the antennas at once. Raleigh's towers are no exception.

Video Notes: After a few of these strikes, the white strobe lights on the affected tower would stop operating for a few seconds, then resume flashing. One of the zoomed shots shows the strobes flashing prior to the strike, then stop flashing immediately after the discharge. Also, notice the metal on the tip of the antennas glowing orange for a split second during and after each hit. Play video: RealVideo, 3.5MB
Filmed by Dan Robinson and Matt Robinson

Still frames:


All three towers take a direct hit simultaneously


Another triple strike


A zoom shot of the center tower taking a direct strike


The tip of the antenna glows orange with heat as the bolt fades


Wide shot, same bolt as above


Another zoom shot of a direct hit


The tip of the antenna glows orange with heat as the bolt fades


Wide shot, same bolt as above


Double tower strike


An intracloud discharge gets close to the towers, but doesn't connect

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