Arizona Superlightning

August 23rd, 2005 | researchmaterial

A top National Weather Service expert in Phoenix will investigate a powerful lightning strike that “sounded like dynamite exploding,” damaging 13 homes in central Mesa…

“This is beyond the norm,” meteorologist David Runyan said. “It’s bizarre. It intrigues us. We will seek some means to understand it a little more.”

The lightning bolt drawing all the attention caused extensive damage to a home in the 2000 block of East Seventh Avenue, near Broadway and Gilbert roads, as its charge sped to other structures through underground wiring and wet soil.

Mesa firefighters, who have seen the aftermath of other lightning strikes over the years, said they have never witnessed anything like the effects of the Seventh Avenue strike. They believe the strike, recorded at 4:45 p.m., first hit the home, owned by Al Ogawa and Richard McTevia, and spread its powerful charge underground.

The force’s intense heat exploded underground wires, including television cable, near the home, erupted through the soil and spewed dirt and debris like volcanic ash against homes, trees and parked vehicles. Areas around brass doorknobs and locks were scorched…


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