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

Lightning lights up Kentucky, West Virginia: Scattered severe weather rumbles through Bluegrass State: July 6, 2004

EXPEDITION VIDEO: Lightning in WV and KY on July 6

GRAYSON, KY - Lines and clusters of thunderstorms rolled across Appalachia after dark on Tuesday. Below is a report of the expedition. Times (EDT) are approximate. Photos can be enlarged by clicking on each thumbnail image.

A complex of strong storms was on its way east in central Kentucky. After the cells made it past Lexington without weakening, I decided to travel west to the Morehead-Grayson area to wait for it. Flashes were visible on the horizon in Ashland. I arrived in Grayson just after 9PM as the storms were crossing the county line to the west, and set up to wait just south of I-64. The storms were still about an hour away, but close enough for some anvil crawler lightning to be visible:

Video capture:

While camera #1 recorded the western sky, I hiked up to the top of a small hill next to the interstate where a set of three wooden crosses are placed. Sets of these famous crosses were set up all over the USA by the late Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer in the 1980's and still exist today. The biggest concentration of these crosses is in Appalachia, where they are a common sight along the highways and roads. The set of crosses in Grayson are visible from the interstate in a curious setting. The hill that they are placed on is surrounded by flat, undeveloped land. The hill appears as if it was originally being excavated away, but stopped short of tearing down the crosses. I set up camera #2 to capture lightning behind the crosses, a scene I've been attempting for quite some time.

Video captures:

The storms weren't far away at this point, but they were weakening fast. Lightning activity decreased, and the cool outflow from the storms hit Grayson around 10:00PM with rain not far behind. When the first raindrops hit, I packed up the cameras and headed back toward home. I continued on to Teays Valley, where an active storm looked like it would pass over the big TV towers on Coal Mountain. After a 45 minute post-midnight wait with three cameras trained on the tip of the tallest tower, the storm fizzled just before it arrived. I continued to Charleston where another cluster of storms was visible just to the east at 1AM, riding the outflow from the previous complex. The last photo stop of the night was for occasional lightning behind the State Capitol:

Video captures:

Mileage today was about 120, due to the round trip to Grayson, KY.

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