Date: 28-05-1999
Time: 00:15 BST
Macclesfield, Cheshire UK
Type: Frontal Multicell
Documented by: Mark Seltzer
Equipment: Samsung VP-H65 Video Camera
Footage Quality:

Storm Statistics: T0024.doc
Event Timeline: T0024events.xls

T0024 is the most photogenic thunderstorm I have filmed so far up until it's date. It was certainly not the loudest which still goes to T0011, but the best displays of C-C spider-lightning were captured.

I was expecting the continental storm system for a couple of days judging on TV weather forecasts, moving north towards the UK out of the Bay of Biscay. I was so convinced something would happen I placed a bet with someone at school that it would happen. When I saw a few flickers of lightning on the horizon at ten past midnight on the 28th I was most satisfied! The distant discharges carried many return-strokes with them giving the cell an energetic ambience.

When it came closer, large C-C spider-lightning (crawling C-Cs with many branches) were becoming visible in the distance to the south west. On final approach the cell was producing much larger C-Cs crawling across the sky followed by a strange ambient silence to the thunder as they were so high-up in the atmosphere. There wasn't much precipitation the entire cell passed over Macclesfield and was showing signs of weakening in the discharge rates. With no latest radar imagery to refresh my image of what was happening out there, I believed that the active trough producing the storms had become a lot more frontal in nature, and the anvil overhang must have been huge to produce such large C-C crawlers. The cellular development may have passed either side of Macclesfield leaving a broken but electrically active break in between.

As the cell started to move away about half an hour later it started to show signs of maturing again in places, starting off with a large C-C spider-lightning in the distance with four separate streaks crawling cross the sky in different directions. Unfortunately only one of the streaks was caught on camera as it was so vast. Then shortly after there was a large multi-C-C spider discharge less than a mile NNE. This lightning is shown above and is probably one of my best captures to date. The thunder wasn't as loud as I was expecting, more crackly than explosive, but still reasonable.

As it passed over the Pennines the discharge rates increased again and the clouds lit up from base-level giving away the structure of a low precipitation-free cloud base. This may have confirmed what I originally thought about the anvil-overhang with the developing cells at the rear of the cell.

VISIBLE 27.05.1999 14:28

INFRARED 27.05.1999 14:28
COLOUR 27.05.1999 14:28

VISIBLE 27.05.1999 17:00
INFRARED 27.05.1999 17:00
COLOUR 27.05.1999 17:00

INFRARED 28.05.1999 04:23
COLOUR 28.05.1999 04:23

IR image 0423Z

VISIBLE 28.05.1999 06:49

INFRARED 28.05.1999 06:49
COLOUR 28.05.1999 06:49