Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Lightning Season in West Virginia

July 10, 2000

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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Right after work at 7:30pm, I saw a few nice storms on radar to the west, near Huntington, moving southeast. I headed west on I-64 to Milton and ran into unbelievably heavy rain. I turned around and drove east back to Charleston. Just as I re-entered the Interstate eastbound at Milton, a red Corsica hydroplaned and spun into the median, narrowly missing two other vehicles. I pulled over to offer assistance. Fortunately, the driver was OK but shaken- his car escaping with just a few clumps of dirt and grass smeared on the front and side.

My awareness of the dangerous road conditions now sharpened, I inched east on I-64 at 40 mph in the heavy rain to South Charleston, then headed south on Route 119 to northern Boone County. There I caught up with a small, active cell and pulled to the side of the road to shoot, but the storm moved away to the east quickly before I could catch anything.

I was tired, and I drove home- preparing for a good night's sleep- that is, until a bright anvil crawler shot over the sky above my house right as I parked in front.

I went up to the cemetery behind my house with the 2 cameras (35mm and video) and shot four anvil crawlers from a storm that was flashing away about 6 miles to the south. The view was looking due south from Spring Hill Cemetery, with downtown Charleston just out of the pictures on the right.

Three of the crawlers managed to connect to ground via a bright main channel that produced loud, sonic boom-like thunder even at a distance of 6 miles away. I had the camera aimed up high (cutting off the base of the CG channels) because I was trying to shoot the anvil crawlers over my head- I wasn't expecting the ground strikes!

MPEG video clips from the first wave of storms earlier in the day (3:30pm - 6:00pm):

clouds.mpg (419KB)
Blocking out the daylight nicely.

rolling.mpg (107KB)
Horizontally rotating clouds (time lapse capture). Probably not tornadic, but still an awesome sight.

cg1.mpg (223KB)
Lots of close lightning striking all around. Missed all of it:) Except for this distant one 2 miles away as the storms moved off to the southeast.

shelf.mpg (401KB)
6:00pm - Nice shelf cloud moving in at the front of a dying storm cell in Scott Depot.

July 10 Photo/Video/Sound Section

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