Jesse Ferrell

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War of the Worlds: MCS Drops 38,000 Lightning Strikes in PA

June 29, 2012; 4:31 PM ET

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.

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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.