Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Lightning Season in West Virginia

August 27, 2000

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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In Dunbar, a small storm cell suddenly begins dropping cloud-to-ground strikes about 1 mile away to the south. I immediately head east, staying with the storm all the way to Paint Creek along the West Virginia Turnpike.

Near Sharon on Cabin Creek, things get a little hairy. Rain is extremely heavy and creates a whiteout, slowing Turnpike traffic to 10 mph. As I crested the mountain at the old Memorial Tunnel, 3/4-inch hail begins pelting the truck as lightning strikes the mountainside just 1000 feet to the left of the Interstate.

I exited the Turnpike at Paint Creek and set up under the highway on the Memorial Tunnel access road, but the severe storm had quickly moved off to the east, sending me home empty-handed.

Video clip: Going downgrade on I-64 at Paint Creek with nickel-sized hail:

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