Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 11:48PM CDT

6/19 New Baden, IL lightning barrage

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HD EXPEDITION VIDEO: Cloud-to-ground lightning in New Baden, IL

A long-lived MCS with origins in Nebraska trekked across Missouri on Saturday, only to collapse to nearly nothing as it approached downtown St. Louis. I saw the downward trend of the complex and opted to not leave home for it. About 20 miles into Illinois, a small cluster of new storms began firing on the leading end of the gust front. These storms moved directly over New Baden with frequent and close lightning, drenching the town's annual festival that was in progress. I set up on County Line Road (about a half mile from home) to grab these shots. Aside from the wind blowing large raindrops directly onto the lens, it was a great show.

I followed the storms east to Okawville to catch a couple of final bolts with a rainbow - after which the storm vanished into thin air in the course of about 20 minutes.

This still image shows the back side of the gust front shelf cloud over New Baden:

click to enlarge:

Another interesting 'split channel' CG event happened today. The first and fifth image above show the two channels of the discharge. The first stepped leader and return stroke happened normally, then the second return stroke used one of the other branches of the original stepped leader path.

Notice how the first return stroke path gets illuminated during the second stroke, and the branch on the far left is illuminated during both strokes.

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