A long day of driving up and down mountain roads today on a wild goose chase after stationary thunderstorms. Since today's storms were not large enough to cause major flood events, the goal was to get more flash flood wave footage - the phenomenon where a flood wave rushes down a creek, causing the water to rise a few inches per second. I caught a couple of weak waves that didn't amount to much in the way of dramatic footage. What I did do was nearly burn up my brakes coming down what I think may be the steepest and curviest mountain road in West Virginia, Peach Tree Road between Artie and Pax just off of I-77 in Raleigh County. I didn't think it was possible to do this to brakes in a car, but yes, it can happen. I'll explain in a later post.
On my way back home from Madison in Boone County, where I caught what I thought was my last storm of the day, a huge cell exploded just north of Charleston and began firing off intense cloud-to-ground lightning. I could see all of it as I drove north on Route 119. At one point, I snapped a photo out of the windshield and caught a bolt completely by chance, without even trying:
I knew that this would probably not last long enough for me to make the 10 miles to Fort Hill, and for the most part I was right. Fort Hill was dry, with a heavy rain core on the mountain on the other side of the river. The bolts I missed were likely hitting down in the valley between Fort Hill and the opposite ridge - a painful thing to miss it by a few minutes. This was the only one left after I got set up: