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                   Sunday, July 8, 2007 - 4:26AM

Lightning over Mayberry

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This wasn't much of an expedition, but an interesting storm observation event on Thursday of last week. Thunderstorms briefly developed on the eastern edge of the Appalachian mountains, at the terrain feature adjacent to the North Carolina-Virginia Piedmont. Upper level winds were weak and any storms were not expected to be anything of note. As I headed south on I-77 down the steep grade near Mount Airy, a small rain shaft became visible just east of the mountain slopes. It was gradually becoming denser as I turned east on I-74, so at Mount Airy, I exited and stopped to watch for a while. The storm began producing cloud-to-ground lightning about five minutes later, and continued sparking for about 15 minutes. Finally, the storm succumbed to its own outflow and fizzled as it moved away from the mountain slopes into the North Carolina Piedmont.

Mount Airy is the hometown of Andy Griffith, and the location on which The Andy Griffith Show's Mayberry was based.

Lightning in Mount Airy, NC on Thursday.

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