Published August 08, 2013
Storm chaser Ron Shawley was out tracking a complex of thunderstorms near Johnstown, Pa., on Aug. 8 when he heard an enormous crack and saw a flash of lightning that likely struck right above his vehicle.
"I could see tiny little lightning bolts inside the truck," Shawley said. "I could feel it; I could feel all this static electricity."
Shawley was out investigating a series of storms that rocked central Pennsylvania Wednesday night. He said that as he monitored the radar he could see the storm shift. At that point, he saw hailstones larger than he had ever seen in that area, ranging from quarter- to golf ball-sized.
"They were unusually severe thunderstorms for Pennsylvania; there was a lot of lightning," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said.
Shawley is already mostly recovered, though he did say he remains rather tired. At the time of the strike, he went temporarily deaf and his ears started bleeding. Had he not been inside his vehicle and allowed the truck to take the brunt of the hit, he would likely not be as fortunate.
"Storms like this, people need to stay inside their vehicles; I'll testify to that," he said.
These lightning strikes he recorded came on the back end of the storm, so he urges people to always be cautious around thunderstorms, even after they think the threat is over.
"Lightning is so unpredictable," he said. "Don't ever underestimate lightning."
AccuWeather meteorologist Jesse Ferrell discusses the weather setup for the storm and decodes the video frame by frame in his WeatherMatrix Blog. You can also see an extended version of the video with a slow-motion track of the lightning on Sawley's Youtube account, though the video does feature some NSFW language.