Need Professional Opinion on Atmospheric Anomaly

Jon Joans

Enthusiast
Jul 31, 2019
3
0
1
Mandeville La
Hey you all! I am new to the forum and I apologize if I've selected the wrong forum for this but I am seeking professional advice.

I was hoping someone with more experience might be able to lend a hand. I live in Mandeville, La and we had a weird atmospheric event on July 30. At around 3:37 PM CST I was temporarily blinded by a flash out of my drivers window. I assumed that lightning had struck right outside my car and braced for the shockwave but it took around 5 seconds to get to me. When it did it was the most massive 'thunder' I have ever felt. It rattled the car and kept rumbling for probably 30 seconds after.

I just assumed it was the largest lighting strike I had ever experienced but that night when I got home I noticed on social media that there were a ton of people talking about a terrible lightning strike near them, all around the same time - and some of these people were miles apart.

Is there some rare, massive, upper-atmospheric lighting that can shake a whole city? Could this have been from a small meteor?

I was hoping someone knew of an organization that tracks this type of thing that could look back at the time and date and find out what it might have been?

Thanks a bunch for any help. This was just really interesting to me.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: TJKLECKNER

James K

EF4
Mar 26, 2019
380
149
6
Colorado
Jon Joan said:
Could this have been from a small meteor?
I'm deff not a professional (or anything close .lol. )
but with what you said about people miles apart reporting the same thing ... It sounds more like that than lightning

Certainly be interesting. to hear what it actually was
 
Last edited:

Jon Joans

Enthusiast
Jul 31, 2019
3
0
1
Mandeville La
Thanks a bunch you all. I tried that link and it did show there was some activity in the area around that time but didn't allow me to zoom in and get a closer look. I do know that the rain had been stopped around us for at least 30 min or so at the time and that's what just makes this more weird.

Do any of you know of any organization that tracks meteor entries or anything along those lines? I'm sure there is some type of radar tracking data out there but I wasn't able to find anything.
 
Jan 6, 2019
86
36
6
Tyler
Thanks a bunch you all. I tried that link and it did show there was some activity in the area around that time but didn't allow me to zoom in and get a closer look. I do know that the rain had been stopped around us for at least 30 min or so at the time and that's what just makes this more weird.

Do any of you know of any organization that tracks meteor entries or anything along those lines? I'm sure there is some type of radar tracking data out there but I wasn't able to find anything.
There is a tracking of meteors, can't remember where, been awhile since i was interested in that type occurrence, but if that had of been one would think it would have been on the news based on how 'big' you said it was.
Here it is : American Meteor Society
You can find out a look of neat stuff just by doing your own searching.

I think it was a large lightning strike.
Years ago I was with a group that was using DIY gear to pick up only the large strikes, there is a name for them, but can't remember it.
Had to do with receiving Schumann RF signals : https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/users/mansell/icae2014/preprints/Dyrda_83.pdf
Like I said before there was group that was building their own receivers and could pick up stronger signals of the larger strikes.
Direction of the strike used the phase shift of received signal for direction and then multi receivers sent data to web site that could triangulate the strike. This group had a web site that did show it by state, and was fairly accurate.
Find that site if still exists and it will show the strikes in the down to state, and even more.

With the post you made about it, has me wanting to go back to that and build my own again.
The pickup coils were huge, required two about 2 feet long each, perpendicular to each other and each coil had over 6,000 wraps of 26 gauge mag wire. The PC boards were bread boarded with custom software (open source).
 

Jon Joans

Enthusiast
Jul 31, 2019
3
0
1
Mandeville La
There is a tracking of meteors, can't remember where, been awhile since i was interested in that type occurrence, but if that had of been one would think it would have been on the news based on how 'big' you said it was.
Here it is : American Meteor Society
You can find out a look of neat stuff just by doing your own searching.

I think it was a large lightning strike.
Years ago I was with a group that was using DIY gear to pick up only the large strikes, there is a name for them, but can't remember it.
Had to do with receiving Schumann RF signals : https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/users/mansell/icae2014/preprints/Dyrda_83.pdf
Like I said before there was group that was building their own receivers and could pick up stronger signals of the larger strikes.
Direction of the strike used the phase shift of received signal for direction and then multi receivers sent data to web site that could triangulate the strike. This group had a web site that did show it by state, and was fairly accurate.
Find that site if still exists and it will show the strikes in the down to state, and even more.

With the post you made about it, has me wanting to go back to that and build my own again.
The pickup coils were huge, required two about 2 feet long each, perpendicular to each other and each coil had over 6,000 wraps of 26 gauge mag wire. The PC boards were bread boarded with custom software (open source).
Thanks. That sounds like a really fun and affordable project. I used to do a lot of Arduino / Raspberry Pi type of tinkering projects and I love to experiment with that type of thing but I can rarely find the time these days.
 

Jeff Duda

EF6+, PhD
Staff member
Supporter
Oct 7, 2008
3,466
2,424
21
Broomfield, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
Need more details to provide decent help. What was the sky condition? Were you in a particularly densely populated area at the time? Driver's side window of what...a sedan, truck, fork lift, airplane? Were your windows up or down? Were you moving or stationary, and if moving, at what speed? What direction of travel? Don't assume the reader can piece together the situation without being told.
 

Bob W

EF0
Jan 18, 2021
11
8
1
Leland, NC
....
I was hoping someone with more experience might be able to lend a hand. I live in Mandeville, La and we had a weird atmospheric event on July 30. At around 3:37 PM CST I was temporarily blinded by a flash out of my drivers window. I assumed that lightning had struck right outside my car and braced for the shockwave but it took around 5 seconds to get to me. When it did it was the most massive 'thunder' I have ever felt. It rattled the car and kept rumbling for probably 30 seconds after.

I just assumed it was the largest lighting strike I had ever experienced but that night when I got home I noticed on social media that there were a ton of people talking about a terrible lightning strike near them, all around the same time - and some of these people were miles apart.
.......
I realize this thread is over 1.5 years old, and the people involved with the thread havent been on since posting, but what I found might be interesting. It does appear that this was a very high current lightning strike... actually a pair of them something like 20 microseconds apart separated by maybe 5 km. I say high current because it was heard by 124 stations, which is alot. Attached screenshots from Blitzortung archive. I'm a participant, and I can search and can zoom as tight as the map will go.

First two screenshots is the two strikes with location and known stats. Station count is how many stations "heard" the strike. Third screenshot is the locations of stations that "heard" - magnetically or electrically - the strike in the first screenshot. The blue pindrop on the map is just where I picked near the town the OP said. Last screenshot is names of the stations that heard the strike.

lgt1.JPG

lgt2.JPG

lgt3.JPG

lgt4.JPG
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dave C

Warren Faidley

Supporter
May 7, 2006
1,969
2,067
21
Mos Isley Space Port
www.stormchaser.com
It seems there would have been numerous reports received by the media, fire, police, military, etc., if it was unusually intense -- or something other than lightning. The fact that is was recorded by lightning detection equipment likely means it was a lightning discharge. Were there any other reports, e.g., damage? The Blitzortung site shows similar detection ranges for many / most lightning strikes, so I'm not sure it's that unusual. I've been in a lot of lightning and have witnessed similar, high-concussive thunder if the atmospheric conditions are just right, e.g., low clouds where the sound is trapped / echoed. I was awoken by one here in Tucson a few years ago that I swore hit a dynamite factory. There are likely some other physics involved in the rapid expansion of air if the conditions are just right. Lightning can also have multiple contact points which can create a stereo effect depending on your location in relation to the discharges.

From Scientific American: "Thunder is caused by lightning, which is essentially a stream of electrons flowing between or within clouds, or between a cloud and the ground. The air surrounding the electron stream is heated to as hot as 50,000 degrees Farhenheit, which is three times hotter than the surface of the sun. As the superheated air cools it produces a resonating tube of partial vacuum surrounding the lightning's path. The nearby air rapidly expands and contracts. This causes the column to vibrate like a tubular drum head and produces a tremendous crack."
 

Bob W

EF0
Jan 18, 2021
11
8
1
Leland, NC
It seems there would have been numerous reports received by the media, fire, police, military, etc., if it was unusually intense -- or something other than lightning.
All very true. I'm new to this forum, and the post caught my eye so I decided to take a look. Around that timeframe, there were not very many strokes. I suspect that maybe this was unexpected by those in the area and if there were a raging thunderstorm at the time, it wouldn't have caught their attention. In terms of numbers of stations, it's really not all that unusual, but it does show that it was a reasonable hot stroke. Maybe it was clear out and it was the proverbial bolt from the blue and it caught them off guard. Hit a tower or something that didn't burn to the ground.