January 18, 2016 12:50am
Darwin photographer Anthony Say snapped this impressive picture of lighting striking from East Arm.
The storm chaser said he took the photo from a safe distance as the thunder and lightning rolled in.
“The way I managed to shoot this picture was to do a 15 second exposure on a low aperture as the storms were a fair way from East Arm where I was shooting,” he said.
Weather bureau senior forecaster, Bill Lynch said the photo was a great example of cloud to ground lightning strikes.
“If you’ve been in a Darwin for a few years you’d see this type of lightning a lot,” he said.
“It’s the typed of lightning that is dangerous to us as it can strike someone who is out in the open.”
Mr Lynch said scientists still don’t fully understand all the hows and whys of lightning but it was basically an electrostatic discharge during a thunderstorm.
“It’s quite a complicated topic but basically all thunderstorms, including the ones we get in Darwin, have hail,” he said.
“In the cloud, where it’s below freezing, the hail grows and that process of the hail circulating in the thunderstorm starts to create an electric charge in the cloud.
“Once you get that happening, the nature is unbalanced and the thunderstorm wants to move that charge.
“We see that process happen through lightning.”
Mr Lynch said Anthony’s photo also showed the smaller branches of lightning spreading.
“The little branches are what we call downward leaders – that is the lightning trying to remove its electrical charge,” he said.
“What it needed is an upward leader to connect with it and that doesn’t always happen.
“Every now and again it will make a connection and that’s where you see the really large lightning strikes – we call that the discharge.”
Source : NT News