Lightning Lesson: Invisible Danger

Kathleen and were hearing thunder -- without visible lightning -- a while ago even though it was not only dry, the radar was showing no rain anywhere near us. We were under a type of lightning known as an "anvil crawler."

In this example, we are at the orange oval.
While does not show up well on radar, we are under the anvil of the storm (dashed blue line).

In this photo, the "core" of the pictured storm (the bright echoes on radar) is between the yellow arrows. The anvil is the white cirrus clouds that spread out ahead of the core.

This is a time exposure of anvil crawlers at night. During the day, they are usually not bright enough to be observed by the human eye.

So, how do the keep safe from the cloud-to-ground lightning that occasionally occurs from an anvil? I'm beta-testing AccuWeather's new SkyGuard® Mobile. It was going off well in advance of the thunder at my home.
This is another example of weather science making us safer!


  1. Hey Mike, can you help me out. I'm on a bit of a debate on Facebook with someone from my town (Ponca City, OK) who believes that there is a "refinery effect" with the local oil refinery. The theory is that the heat from the refinery can split up storms. Is this even slightly possible?


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