An absolutely stunning view of a lightning bolt striking the ground was caught by Joey Hammon on Saturday afternoon. According to Joey, from where he was the strike is likely near the end of Lakeshore drive in Scottsboro.
To get an expert’s insight into the event, we reached out to lightning researcher Dr. Chris Schultz. According to Dr. Schultz this is likely a negative flash, based on our climatology and its structure:
“The branched structure is the stepped leader trying to find the easiest path to ground.”
He also noted that this photo is a great example of why it’s important to seek shelter for the entire duration of a storm, not only when it is raining:
“most folks that are struck and injured/killed by lightning are hit while it is not raining”
A graph from NOAA depicts this by comparing the actual lightning risk to our exposure to that risk.
Most lightning casualties occur as a storm is either approaching or departing. This is because as the storm approaches people wait too long to seek shelter, and then as the storm departs people leave their shelter too soon. You should seek shelter as soon as you know a storm is near -whether it’s because you can see the skies darkening or you can hear thunder in the distance.
How long should you shelter from a storm for? Lightning can strike up to 15 miles away from the parent storm, so you want to have at least that amount of distance between you and the storm.
You can opt into receiving alerts for lightning up to 15 miles away using the Live Alert 19 app.