Last Friday (05/04/12) we had an impressive series of thunderstorms pass through the area beginning just after 5 pm and continuing in five distinct waves through the early night. All told, we had nearly an inch of rain.
I stood beside the barn where I had a good view to the southwest and heard a storm coming a while before I saw any lightning. As it got closer, this is how it looked.
The virga (airborne rain) to the right of this storm was quite pronounced. Look at the curtain of gray falling in a vertical shaft. The angry storm itself, traveling almost due east, passed mostly south of me but pelted Germantown with hail and torrential rain.
These two frames are taken from a video I was shooting. This is the same storm as above and at about the same time (5:11 pm). They are placed in the correct order. The strike on the left came first. I'd say the strike on the left is a return stroke. The two frames are 1/30 second apart.
How far off was the strike? I measured the time between the strike and the thunder as 19 seconds and I got 3.8 miles (19/5). The shot was taken to my SW and that would place the strike in German Twp.
Almost as soon as these frames were captured, I packed up as I began to hear raindrops hitting the open fields around me. As I turned and looked north, here is the beautiful cumulus that greeted me.
Blue sky not far away! And so go spring thunderstorms, dropping copious amounts of rain on one area and a mile away the ground remains dry. The sun forever shines on the top of the most violent storm.