Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Lightning Season in West Virginia

August 13, 2000

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I was driving home from Dunbar at about 11:30 PM when nearly constant flashes to the north got my attention real fast. I knew from radar data that the weather was moving east-southeast, so I stopped for gas in Charleston, and headed north on I-79 to intercept the storms.

At Amma in Roane County, the flashes were getting bright. I exited at Wallback and drove 5 miles back southwest to an underpass facing north at Newton, and set up on the steep embankment under the Interstate.

It was now almost 1:00 AM. The rural sky was free of streetlights and city glare, and lit up sharply when the lightning flashed. Perfect camera conditions. Lightning was now less than 10 miles away, and soft thunder was beginning to become audible in the distance. It shouldn't be much longer to fireworks time!

But by 2:30 AM, the lightning isn't any closer. It turns out that the cells are moving due east, perpendicular to my view. I'd just been watching a train of storms go by to my north, rather than them approaching me. If I'd just driven another 10 miles north, I'd have been right in the middle of them.

At 3:00 AM the lightning has dwindled to almost nothing. I'm exhausted and ready to call it a night. The dark, foggy, quiet, lonesome, 70 mile, one-hour drive home is long and tiring, but I make it safely.

All I can do is try again next time.......

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