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Electric Supply: Close Lightning on Virginia Street - July 23, 1997

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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For the record, there was a Big Bang, but it had nothing to do with evolution. Goldfarb Electric Supply Co. got more power than they bargained for when this cloud-to-ground lightning bolt connected to a steel telephone pole directly across the street. The strike occurred during a heavy mid-afternoon storm that rolled through Charleston on July 23, 1997, giving startled bystanders ringing ears and a memory they'll never forget.

In this photo of the event, Goldfarb Electric's buildings are visible just to the right of the base of the lightning. No one was hurt, but the folks at Goldfarb's suffered surge damage to computers and phones from this strike, which inconvenienced operations for a few days.

Also visible in the photo are Wendy's and Sears Monument on Virginia street, Shoneys and Long John Silvers on the Kanawha Boulevard, the Elk River Town Center Inn and the I-64 bridge across the Kanawha River (directly behind the lightning).

Camera-to-lightning distance was less than 1/5 of a mile (about 1000 feet) from a vantage point in the Town Center Mall parking garage.

Camera/Lens/Film: 35mm Minolta SRT201 SLR, 35mm lens, Kodak 100 ASA.
Exposure: 3 seconds @ F11

[ click to enlarge ]

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