Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Stormy day across Ohio Valley: Severe weather minimal, lightning and thunder plentiful: April 22, 2005

ABOVE: Close-up view of lightning striking the WVAH-TV tower in Putnam County on Friday night (more photos below).

VIDEO: Lightning strikes the WVAH tower on Friday: RealVideo, 1.9MB

POINT PLEASANT, WV - Storms fired across West Virginia during the day on Friday. The following is a log of the day's chase. Photos can be enlarged by clicking on the thumbnail images.

Mason County storm - This cell initiated over Gallia County in Ohio, and crossed the river into Mason County in the Gallipolis Ferry-Point Pleasant area. The cell exhibited a striking LP-like structure with a bell-shaped updraft base and apparent inflow banding. The LP base briefly exhibited what appeared to be a poorly defined RFD slot. Heavy precip was falling at this time just to the northeast of this updraft base. Eventually, the LP base evaporated as the core of the storm grew. Just east of Point Pleasant on the Kanawha River, the updraft took on a supercellular appearance, although no rotation or defining motion was present to validate this. At any rate, the storm was very picturesque with highly contrasting colors, lightning, and a rainbow.

Video captures:

Later in the evening, numerous thunderstorms moved across the state with gusty winds and lightning, so I traveled to the site of the WVAH television tower on Coal Mountain in Putnam County. I set up a few hundred yards from the tower base, aimed the camera nearly straight up, and zoomed in all the way on the antenna tip. Rain on the lens was a problem, but still got this shot. There were more strikes to the tower after this, but everything was getting soaked and I had to bail.

The lightning channel appears to be looping so much because the camera is directly under it, looking almost straight up at the lightning coming down (you usually are looking at lightning from the side). The beading-out channel moves sideways with the strong winds, along with a shower of glowing sparks from the antenna's metal tip. The lightning channel also splits into two branches about 20-30 feet or so above the antenna.

VIDEO: Lightning strikes the WVAH tower on Friday: RealVideo, 1.9MB

Video captures, lightning strike to WVAH tower:

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