Cloud-to-Air Discharge

This is a twilight shot of a big, bright, forked, cloud-to-air lightning bolt originating in the vault of a supercellin this case, an area just NE of the main updraftan elevated region of rain and large hail occupying the large notch between updraft and downshear anvil.  Intense charge separation happens in this part of supercells, where a large mix of precipitation particles cascades off the high updraft.  This results in interesting and frequent electrical discharges from the vault, both aerial (as here) and cloud-to-ground.  After most of the lightning had been buried deeper in the rain and farther away, this flash erupted with dazzling suddenness and seemed to leap right at me.  I was extremely fortunate to get it within one slide-film frame!

1 S Voda KS (2 Jul 93) Looking NW
39.0251, -100.02

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