Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Lightning Photography Gallery

Paint Creek Lightning
Standard, WV - August 3, 2000

At around 6:00pm on Thursday, rapidly growing thunderstorms began forming around the state for the 7th day in a row. This sequence of photos shows the progression of one storm north of Charleston during a 5-minute time frame. The cloud pushed skyward fast, with pileus caps visible several times. The last photo below shows the storm beginning to 'anvil out' in a mushroom-shaped cloud as it hits the ceiling. These photos were taken 1 to 2 minutes apart:

 

 

After dark, storms continued to develop and move northeast. At 9:00pm, I decided to try and intercept a very active cluster of cells to the south. I drove east on I-64 and caught up with the lightning at Cabin Creek. At Chelyan, a bolt struck the mountainside 1/2 mile in front of me- immediately followed by an orange glow on the mountain that persisted for 3 seconds afterward, possibly from a tree taking the hit. I finally got ahead of the storms at Paint Creek. I set up the cameras (video and 35mm) facing northeast under I-64, near the old WV Turnpike Memorial Tunnel at Standard.

In the second photo at right, an anvil crawler spawns a ground connection during its horizontal trip across the sky.

Even though it cost me $2.50 in tolls to make this chase, these shots made the drive worth it. Storms continued across the area the rest of the night- lightning was still flashing in the eastern sky at dawn.

Camera/Lens/Film: 35mm Pentax K1000 SLR, 28mm lens, Kodak 100 ASA.
Exposure: 5 to 15 seconds @ F5.6

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