Powerful Bolt

March 22, 2004


Provided and copyright by: Gregg Wachtelhausen, Hingham Middle School
Summary authors & editors: Gregg Wachtelhausen; Jim Foster

Other than the occasional hurricane and rare tornado, storm chasing on the south shore of Massachusetts isn't often rewarding. However, summer thunderstorms can produce some fantastic lightning displays. The above photo was taken in August of last year. A friend and I had been following a cold front hoping for a shot like this. This front had generated a few F1 tornadoes in the eastern areas of New York state and Connecticut, and when it arrived over Massachusetts, the frontal boundary was as dark as night. Although no funnels were observed, the lightning was indeed impressive. Some bolts from this strom were a bit too close for comfort -- this one only missed us by about a block! The most powerful lightning bolts can exceed temperatures of 50,000 F.

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