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 Unusual Sighting

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USN DevilDolphin
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PostSubject: Unusual Sighting   Tue 8 Sep 2009 - 2:50

I dont think this really is severe weather, but did not see any other topics to post it under. Sunday evening while flying back to Washington from my much needed and way too short vacation in Indiana, while flying over Montana, I noticed something that I had not seen before. (I know it was Montana because I take my laptop and use GPS tracking to see where the plane is so I know how much longer it will be). The pilot started making a few changes in direction, and before long, I could tell he was maneuvering around some thunderstorm clouds. I have seen storm clouds before from the top while in an airplane, but what was different about this storm was what was shooting up from the clouds....not down. What I saw was quick flashes of light that extended extremely high into the sky above the storm clouds that looked like a red jelly fish with blue tentacles hanging below. They lasted slightly longer than a normal lightning bolt. Does lightning shoot up instead of down to the ground? If so, does anyone know what causes it to look like a red and blue jelly fish instead of just a normal bolt of lightning? I am completely stumped and can not find anything online about lightning that flashes up. Any ideas?

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Brian Ervin
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FFI & II, Firemedic I & II, Fire Instructor I, II, & III, NIMS First Responder Awareness & Ops, Waterfront Lifeguard, AED, CPR, Military EVOC Instructor, Skywarn Trained (Summer '06)
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NW-SKYWARN
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Location : Silverdale, WA
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual Sighting   Tue 8 Sep 2009 - 4:06

well brian,

you just wittnessed (sprites) yes sprites, a form of lightning, that shoots from the top anvil into space.
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Marc
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual Sighting   Tue 8 Sep 2009 - 9:19

Cool looking huh. I've only seen sprites in photos.

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Marc
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USN DevilDolphin
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual Sighting   Tue 8 Sep 2009 - 18:31

Thats exactly what it was. I did a search for sprites after reading the responses and the images I found were exactly what I saw out the window. That is so wierd. I have been in a plane that flew over a thunderstorm before (it was dark and you could see the lightning illuminate the clouds below) but maybe due to the sprites, they decided to avoid flying over this one. Totally a wierd site, and I bet it would play hell with an airplane if it hit one. Thanks Robert! I was clueless and could not find anything, but didnt know where to look.

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Brian Ervin
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Volunteer Firefighter (back home in Indiana)
FFI & II, Firemedic I & II, Fire Instructor I, II, & III, NIMS First Responder Awareness & Ops, Waterfront Lifeguard, AED, CPR, Military EVOC Instructor, Skywarn Trained (Summer '06)
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Number of posts : 276
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual Sighting   Wed 9 Sep 2009 - 6:25

Hey your welcome,

Knowledge is power, and knowing is half the battle.....


"GI JOEEEEEEEEEE"

LOL
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual Sighting   Fri 11 Sep 2009 - 2:44

I have seen this one time on one storm at my dads place his roof sorta.. it basically needs to be clear surounding around but close enough storm to see it.. theres very fast but can reach as high as 30 miles above the storm top itself. i believe there is 6 or so diff types of colors for them.
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