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Ball lightning, very close hit
Original poster: "Jim Mora" <jmora@xxxxxxxxxxx>
When I was a young man I lived in Illinois within the tornado
belt. I left a friend's house as the sky was turning very dark and a
tell tale greenish tint. I was about a mile from home in my car when
all the warning sirens went off. Looking out the windshield and up
toward sky I could see clouds churning violently and the beginning
formation of a funnel cloud. Dry bolt lightning was striking all over.
As I turned a tight corner the telephone pole a few feet from the
passenger door exploded from a direct hit. The bolt sort of rolled
into a ball and rode on top of a steel guard rail for a few hundred
feet a leader remained connected to it. This lasted a few seconds.
The ball and lightning jumped into the Burlington Railroad and found
ground and a branch struck up a high voltage line that ran along the
railroad. Many braches came out of the wires directly above the rail
impact (or down?).
My car was totally charged, my radio was blown out and my hair was
literally on end since there was not yet any rain. The charge bled
off after a few blocks which pasted at close to 60mi and hour! That
was the most amazing and frightening display of Nature I have ever experienced.