11/08/05 REPORTS: Midwest/Great Lakes/Ohio Valley

Dan Robinson

On Tuesday, I followed a storm from its birth as a rain shower near Richmond, Indiana literally all the way to my house in Charleston. That was unusual but very convenient! The storm was a long-lived severe cell that retained its identity all the way across Ohio into WV, lasting over 7 hours and covering nearly 250 miles. The storm was severe-warned nearly its entire way across Ohio and WV.

Two words for these November setups of late: Insane lightning. The CG barrage I experienced in Charleston tonight easily topped all other lightning events I have been a part of, including those on the Plains. I even joined the Drummond club tonight. After two CGs hit too close for comfort, I decided to literally run for cover. I left the cameras rolling (pointing skyward) as I carried them over to a nearby building when a third hit even closer. You can hear the 'snap' sound as the lightning flashes (not a camara audio glitch, I heard it loud and clear in person). Another close strike knocks out power to the building I was next to, activating its emergency deisel generator. I also witnessed several power flashes across the city after strikes.


Video grabs from Charleston Tuesday night:

From Ohio Tuesday afternoon:

Side note: the last road I stopped at to set up the cameras in Ohio:


Started this chase on Monday afternoon at 5PM and headed west from Charleston to Louisville, Kentucky to wait for the initial overnight development on the warm front. This happened further east and north than I expected, so I moved up to Indy for some lightning shots until daybreak. After a quick sleep in Richmond, Indiana, I awoke before noon. I was expecting to remain in the area all day with nothing to do until late afternoon when the big show would start. However, I noticed a rain shower pop up just north of me. The updraft looked weak but somewhat interesting, so I decided to check it out. There was nothing else to do anyway!

Well, my rain shower quickly grew into a monster with frequent lightning, hail, and high-based but ominous features. Features that led me to believe if it had been surface-based, I would have seen 10 tornadoes today. Inflow banding, large smooth rain-free base, bell-shaped updraft - but all way up there - nothing coming close to the ground. This storm was cool enough that I decided to just stay with it until it died, then go back to Indiana for the later event. Well, my storm didn't die until it had led me all the way back to my house in West Virginia - through northern Dayton, Springfield, Jeffersonville, Washington Court House, Chillicothe, Jackson, Athens, Gallipolis, then across the state line. The storm was moving very fast - and I was able to keep up with it until I moved into the start of the mountains/hilly terrain on southeast Ohio. From that point on the storm was moving further and further away from me.

I saw sporadic dime and nickel-sized hail with this cell along with prolific cloud-to-ground lightning. At times structure was interesting, with a well-defined shelf cloud toward the end of its journey across Ohio.

Back in Charleston, the storm finally raced off into the mountains and fizzled - but not before more convection began firing in its wake. Lightning with these new cells was staggering! I spent the next few hours taking in this display before finally calling it a night. It was nice to end this long-distance chase with no long drive back home afterward.