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                   Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 4:40AM CDT

February 28-29 'leap year' lightning in southwest Illinois

Storm Chaser/Photographer
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Another pair of wintertime severe storm/lightning events to add to the 2012 logs, which now has been my most active winter season ever in terms of thunderstorms. First, an unexpectedly early round of storms fired across Missouri and Illinois on Tuesday evening, with one CG lightning-active cell passing right over me at New Baden - which I shot from about 1/4 mile from my place. Later, the second round of storms passed before daybreak on Wednesday morning, providing some 'leap year lightning' over the prairies around Marissa, IL, where I traveled to try for upward lightning striking the Prairie State power plant smokestack (no success this time). This was my first post-surgery chase, which thankfully didn't require me to travel very far to get something to photograph.

UPDATE: Sad news has come in from the town Harrisburg in southern Illinois, located east of I-57 roughly 90 minutes from here. A tornado associated with the second round of storms early Wednesday morning has killed at least 6 in the town. That is a very high tornado death toll for a modern day event, but unfortunately not unexpected with a nighttime tornado during the winter, a time of year when people are generally paying less attention to the potential for severe storms. Preliminary reports indicate the tornado could be rated as high as EF4.

HD VIDEO: February 28 lightning at New Baden, IL

Tuesday night looking south from New Baden:

February 28 lightning
click to enlarge

Wednesday morning at around 3AM, looking east at the Prairie State power plant in Marissa:

February 29 lightning
click to enlarge

More from New Baden:

February 28 lightning

February 28 lightning

February 28 lightning
click to enlarge

February 28 lightning

'Anvil crawlers' ahead of the second wave of storms, looking west at Marissa:

February 29 lightning
click to enlarge

February 29 lightning
click to enlarge


Awesome photos!
- Posted by steve
I was online looking for photos of storm in VT and came across these...beautiful!
- Posted by Aimee from VT
Was wondering if you were out. Tried calling you to see how you are feeling.
- Posted by Katie from Melrose, MA
Amazing, knew you'd come through!
- Posted by Paul from IL
Great shots! What time did you shot these? I was driving from Mt. Vernon to Carbondale between 8 and 9pm and could see the lightning to the west.
- Posted by Glenn from Carbondale, IL
Thanks for the comments all. It was a fun night to be out!
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL
Thank you for sharing this beautiful stuff!What type of surgery did you have?
- Posted by Stephen Levine from Dallas
Thanks Stephen, I had double hernia surgery on the 14th. I'm back to a routine now but still have a ways to go with getting fully normal.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

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