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A thunder storm marched in at bedtime, shedding flashes as it came, the bolts concealed in the forerunning rain.  It growled and cracked by and I followed from window to window around the house.

At length it moved decisively away to the north-east, three knots of energy discharging across a quadrant of the horizon, never more than four seconds between strokes and sometimes continuous lightning.  There were hundreds of flashes in the hour:  flashes too quick to see; sheets and billows of light sweeping in giant ripples across half the sky; sudden vertiginous cloudscapes, picked out for a bare instant.  Perhaps one in ten of the bolts was visible, as a sudden stab to ground or snaking from cloud to cloud, now and then inscribing an elaborate tracery at once  powerful and fantastic.

Gradually the storm set behind the downs, now silent for us but still flinging out flame in erratic profusion, bolts occasionally seeming to roll along the brow of the hills like electrical fluid.  The pale clouds in the east let a few chips of rising moon shine through as an appendix to the light show, and Cassiopeia stood in a rag of clear sky.

An hour later the next storm travelled over:  a few bangs and flashes, and inconceivable quantities of the Atlantic dumped onto the land.

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6 responses »

    • I think it was the most satisfactory to watch that I have ever seen – no waiting for the next flash, and with the rain going away in front, nothing to stop you seeing everything. Mind you, with that intense activity I was glad it wasn’t directly overhead!

  1. I heard about this on the Beeb… living in Oklahoma and Kentucky, I used to get some nasty storms that used to make the storms I knew from England to be quite… wimpy LOL But it sounds as though everyone got hammered hard. I hope all is well.

    BTW, I wanted to let you know (but didn’t have your email address) that I’ve published an ebook astronomical guide for 2015. It’s available on Amazon now (links below) and I’ll be offering it for free between July 20th and 24th to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the moon landing.

    UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00LVEUJI2
    US: http://www.amazon.com/2015-Astronomical-Year-Reference-Astronomy-ebook/dp/B00LVEUJI2

    Clear skies!

    • Luckily for us it wasn’t directly overhead!
      Thanks for the links and for the gift – I remember you saying you wanted to write about astronomy again so well done actually doing it. I’ve downloaded to Kindle and I hope you will inspire me to get back out there – having been unwell over winter I got out of the habit and need to get back in! First few pages look very friendly though I haven’t so far seen the ‘don’t panic’ statement 🙂

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