Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message

Tower lightning hit at Coal Mountain: April 3, 2007

ABOVE: Upward-moving (ground-to-cloud) lightning strikes the WVAH tower between St. Albans and Scott Depot on Tuesday night.

EXPEDITION VIDEO: Tower lightning strike Watch Video

RELATED ARTICLE: Upward-moving strikes to towers and skycrapers

SCOTT DEPOT, WV - A weakening thunderstorm complex moved into West Virginia just before midnight on Tuesday. The storm had just enough charging left to produce several lightning flashes over Putnam County, one of which triggered a classic upward-moving (ground-to-cloud) lightning strike to the 1,500 foot WVAH TV tower on Coal Mountain near St. Albans.

Although I could see that the thunderstorm complex was rapidly weakening, the radar signature showed a healthy, classic stratiform precipitation region that, according to the Huntington automatic weather observation station, was still producing lightning. Stratiform precip sheilds associated with an active or dying line of thunderstorms are often electrified for long periods of time, and are the best producers of upward-moving lightning strikes to tall towers. So, I decided a trip to the WVAH tower was in order. During 2005 and 2006, I had documented a large number of up-close strikes to this tower, and this time I wanted a more distant view. Tower strikes are very large events in the spatial sense, and the up-close footage was only capturing a miniscule segment of the whole visible discharge.

I returned to a spot that I hadn't shot at for years - the Foodland parking lot on Teays Valley Road, with a clear view of the tower to the south. During the one hour of filming, one upward-moving strike occured to the structure. I filmed with two cameras, one wide and one zoomed in closer.

BELOW: Lightning strikes the WVAH tower between St. Albans and Scott Depot, WV on Tuesday, April 7, 2007.

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