Tornado Lightning


Normal Every Night Lightning

Thursday night while on the road doing deliveries the national weather alert had given a warning for tornados, not something we usually get in our area. I read that there had been baseball size hail already and a tornado progressing from the nearby city in our direction up here in the mountains. I setup our Casio Exilim EX-V8 digital camera recording video in the window looking across the valley and waited.


More Interesting Lightning Down to Marsh

The winds picked up and the thunder got closer and closer. The night sky flashed. Then we were rewarded with a spectacular thunderstorm and possibly there was a funnel with repeated thick vertical lightning strikes down its core. I have never seen a tornado before so this was a bit of a new experience.


Marsh Striking Back Upward Moments Later

What we observe were not the usual sideways strikes that branch but instead single strikes that appeared to hit down over and over in the same spot before moving onward to a new area.

There is a vein of copper ore in our mountains and I believe that some of the activity we saw may have been the storm hitting the metallic rocks. At one point a white lightning strike comes downward and then shortly afterwards a purple bolt flashes back upward into the sky for several hundred feet.



What may be the funnel of a tornado being lit up by the strikes of lightning within it gradually moves south east across the valley and ridge.



The next day the trees looked fine so it may not have actually touched down. Our mountain slopes tend to break the winds up.



After the lightning started it’s show the rain got very intense. We didn’t get much compared with other areas, perhaps 3″ or so based on buckets.



In Barre, Montpelier and other nearby towns they had a great deal of flooding due to the water pouring down from both the sky and the mountains. We read in the newspaper that one river went from 800 cubic-feet per second to over 13,000 cubic-feet per second.



When we got to Barre the town was flooded. Wood and other things were floating down the streets. The police had cordoned off the edges of the town. She couldn’t get home. She went back up on the western mountains by the hospital and waited. Later she circled down south and was able to cross over finally getting home about mid-night. It had been a 22 hour day for her. Our hearts go out to all those who suffered real loss in this and other storms – We are fortunate to have not had any damage from the storm, just an exciting view as it passed by.

Outdoors: 80°F/47°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 67°F/65°F

Daily Spark: Don’t read everything you believe.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Tornado Lightning

  1. Pam R. says:

    How cool to listen to a thunderstorm, watch the lightning, and not have to deal with the aftermath. Well, not immediately, as all your water will eventually come here, via Connecticut River.

  2. Eric Nendle says:

    Nice videos and photos. Great idea using the video to capture lightning. I have tried catching it with just the camera mode but not so well.

    • Using still frames captures lighting but misses the multi-strikes that we were seeing. Using the video showed a lot of things I missed with my naked eyes. I would use the video again but next time set it on the higher resolution UHQ Wide. I would also put down the window screen. Silly me.

  3. Lindsey says:

    I’m glad you guys are okay!
    Know that all of us up here in the soggy Northwest are thinking of you all and hoping for a speedy return to something more like normal.
    Killer shots, too.
    I once stood outside (in the days of yore, before children, when I had time to do these things) and caught a roving lightening storm across our plateau – got some great shots with just a dinky digital cam.

  4. Excellent blog post Walt! Great pics, great care in setting up the cameras and stuff. I imagine lightening is not easy to capture on camera and you managed to capture it going from the ground up! Well done Sir.

    Glad you got home safe and sound. If the worse that happened to her was a 22 hour day..I would sign up for that. Could have been worse.

  5. Larry AJ says:

    Here is an awesome photo of a big well defined funnel cloud lit by lightning!
    http://www.nsm.or.th/nsm2009/e-learning/english_version/science@nsm/science@nsm/clouds/cumulus/hold/funnel4.htm
    I grew up in Iowa but never was this close to one – AND never want to be!!! Just thinking about it makes the hair stand u on the back of my head!

    I assume that in a heavy storm like that the livestock and dogs “hunker down” in places that they feel safe. I have known dogs the were deathly afraid of lighting and one that went thru hardware cloth (wire) and a window sash to hide in a cellar.

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