It has been a while (maybe a couple of years) since we've had an overnight Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) come through the state of Pennsylvania. The one that dropped 38,800 lightning strikes to the ground across the state last night reminded me how different MCS are than regular thunderstorms. Here are just a few of the lightning strikes I got on film, in slow motion (view HQ on YouTube):
These complexes increase in severity at night and are marked with very frequent lightning. I remember in 2005 a few days after watching "War of the Worlds" in the theater, an MCS passed over Central PA and I found the lightning unworldly -- not unlike the "lightning" that brought the aliens to earth in the movie. I was reminded of this last night. The storm moved through around 3 AM and the lightning and thunder were both almost constant. We usually don't get that around here.
Despite the success of grabbing the lightning strikes depicted above in the video (I also separated them out into photos), I actually missed the bulk of the lightning strikes, because they were to my north. Needless to say, the storms caused chaos across the state, downing trees and power lines, as noted in the Facebook Group Pennsylvania Storm Chasers, where we are talking about another MCS or two on tap for this weekend.
One member of the group got this photo of a tree on fire near his house, presumably from a lightning strike:
Wind damage was widespread in Southeastern Pennsylvania including Hershey.
Two days of rare September severe thunderstorms in Pennsylvania have dropped tornadoes and funnel clouds, and I was able to chase some of them.
There are quite a few notable low pressure systems or "cyclones" worldwide today. One of them, Typhoon Meranti, is the biggest in a while.
On the evening of September 5, 1996, as Hurricane Fran approached the North Carolina coast, I embarked on my first-ever hurricane storm chase trip.
Twenty years ago, Hurricane Fran roared into eastern North Carolina, and I was there -- and I've got the VHS tapes to prove it.
Until yesterday, Hurricane Wilma was the last Hurricane to strike the state of Florida, 11 years ago.
Hurricane Irene caused over $16 billion in damage in 2011. A the 5-year anniversary, I look back on my experiences with the storm.