I have to admit, I wish I had snapped this pic, but AccuWeather.com Photo Gallery user carloscoria took this incredible photo of lightning striking a nearby tree last night in Roy, Utah. Many people think they have captured a close lightning strike but have been fooled by ghost reflections. Trust me from being within 30 feet of lightning strikes three times in my life: This, my friends, is what a close lightning strike looks like.
Yes, lightning is hitting the tree in front of Carlos in this picture, probably less than 100 feet away. The red "strike" to the left of the tree is a ghost reflection from his camera. But look closely on the left-hand side of the roof of the house to the right (shown at the arrow below). Even more rare than capturing a strike this close on film is photographing a "positive streamer" which Carlos may have done here.
This is an electrical discharge reaching up from objects nearby to a strikes final path (if it connects to a "stepped leader" then the stroke takes that path). It's still possible it is just another ghost reflection (which people also frequently mistake for streamers) - there would be no way to know for sure, but the positioning on the roof is curious enough that I find it plausible. One of the only legitimate photos of a stepped leader is shown on WikiPedia.
In the last 24 hours, several cities in eastern China have received over 10 inches of rain in the last day -- and it's about to get worse.
Training thunderstorms and mesoscale convective complexes slammed West Virginia and Virginia yesterday, killing 14 people and dropping more than a foot of rain.
I've lived in central Pennsylvania for almost 20 years now. I'm not sure that I remember such a quiet severe weather season. Let's quantify that.
I created an online simulator of the 21-screen real-time U.S. webcam display that is in the lobby of the Joel N. Myers Weather Center at Penn State.
As we predicted, records have been broken across the Southwest U.S. and will continue to be today and tomorrow.
Early next week could bring the hottest weather ever recorded in the Southwest -- and that's no joke.