Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Sunday, April 26, 2009 - 11:51PM CDT

Oklahoma City upward tower lightning

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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Here are a few shots from tonight. Ten total tower hits in about a 45 minute timeframe. These were the best:


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Even a cloud-to-ground strike got in on the fun (notice the connection below the tower top):


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I will likely be heading home in the morning, on a leisurely quasi-chase of the marginal risk on Monday back toward home. The big trough shown on the models last week has vanished, so I don't see a reason to stay out. Saving the rest of the expedition funds for a better setup later.

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The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

Could you please tell me where you took these lightning pictures?
- Posted by Sam Irons from Norman, OK
Sam, I was on NE 63rd street on the south side of the tower farm. The wind was out of the south, so I had to face north to try and keep rain off of the lens.
- Posted by Dan R. from Tulsa, OK
Dan, Nice shots! On my way back home yesterday (from western OK to my house northeast of OKC), I saw at least a couple of fantastic CGs to the towers in northern OKC. I assume the first shot is that of an upward-moving CG (well, probably best to call it a "GC" - ground to cloud)? I wonder how many times these antennae get hit by lightning each year...
- Posted by Jeff Snyder from Arcadia, OK
Thanks Jeff! All but one of these are upward-moving (ground-to-cloud), that is, a negative stepped leader initiating at the tower tip. Just like a CG, but in reverse. The branched VS unbranched is believed to be determined by polarity. The lone CG to the towers in the last picture is a conventional cloud-to-ground strike whos stepped leader happened to come down close to the tower, then made a last-second horizontal jump over to it. These are pretty predictable but I never get bored with them!
- Posted by Dan R. from Broken Arrow, OK
That first shot makes the whole trip, congratulations!
- Posted by Paul from Decatur, IL
Hey Dan, wonderful shots! We were on SR 33 out of Kingfisher last night, halfway between Kingfisher and Guthrie when we saw 4 to 5 of these beauties off of one tower way off in the distance. Tried to catch some on video but that was an epic fail! First time I have seen it live! Congrats!
- Posted by Danny N from Evergreen Park, IL
Thanks for the comments! Yes, this definately makes the trip worth it. I'm one of the few storm observers who equate good lightning with good tornadoes - I'm happy with either/both!
- Posted by Dan R. from Tulsa, OK
ugh, I've been trying for years to get that shot.
- Posted by Doug Kiesling from MN
Look at No 4, there looks like there is a face :) Great images Dan
- Posted by Mick from UK
That first shot is absolutely...heavy!!! Was this an MCS?
- Posted by David from TX

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