Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Lightning Season in West Virginia

April 10, 2002

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A slow storm day such as this one normally doesn't warrant discussion, but the events on this afternoon made the sky interesting to watch.

As a springtime cold front approached from the west, conditions needed for strong thunderstorms slowly dissolved in the days leading up to Tuesday. As the front neared, rain showers were the only features that managed to develop along the line.

However, just prior to the front's passage around 6:00PM, a narrow, brief but potent line of cells quickly fired up in the center of the state, from Morgantown stretching southwest to just north of Charleston. At the time, the cells began producing a fair amount of cloud-to-ground lightning in the Braxton and Gilmer county areas.

Down in Kanawha County, the rapidly developing line was very obvious as it passed over Dunbar and was a very interesting sight to watch (see photo below). While the cells at the southern edge of the line did not grow large enough to produce lightning in the Charleston area, they brought a brief shower of heavy rain to the area.

Below: A line of convective cells develops over Dunbar and South Charleston, West Virginia. This view is looking east across the Kanawha River in Dunbar.

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