April Tempests: Charleston, WV, - April 28, 2002 - 3:30AM
The Mountain State was dealt another round of major flooding this month, less than a year after the devastating July 8 floods of 2001. Worse yet, many of the locations hit hardest by this year's flooding were also affected by last year's disaster. At least five people have been killed as a result of these storms. Although weather enthusiasts enjoy watching the spectacular displays during thunderstorms, no one ever wishes for the life or property loss that sometimes comes with them.
Thunder woke me at 2:30AM Sunday morning, and I immediately set up the camera out of my living room window. I spent almost until dawn shooting the sky as about 10 separate cells passed overhead, one after another. The lightning flashes were sporadic, but good enough to photograph. Two bolts posed for the camera during one of the more intense cells. These overnight storms would turn out to be only a prelude of the active days to follow.
Sunday afternoon in WV brought 3 tornado watches, a severe thunderstorm watch, hail up to 2" in some areas, and one radar-indicated tornado in the mountains in Mingo County, WV. At 2:00PM, I drove into in the middle of a cell in Nitro, WV with so much dime-sized hail that it covered the road. A few nickel-sized stones were also seen in the deluge. Some locations in WV had hail drifts up to 3 feet deep.
The storms raced east too fast to observe storms (50-60 mph), so after 6:00PM the show was all but over.
The speed of the clouds that day was remarkable. Driving back from church Sunday morning, I paced a shadow of a cumulus cloud on Interstate 64 at 60 mph.
The onslaught continued into the work week, with heavy rains causing a repeat occurence of major floods in the coalfield counties, particularly in the Tug Fork and Guyandotte River valleys in McDowell County.
Camera/Lens/Film: 35mm Pentax K1000 SLR, 28mm lens, Fujichrome Sensia II 100 slides.
Exposure: 15-30 seconds @ F5.6