Video Captures Stunning Moment When ‘Spider Lightning’ Lights up the Whole Sky

Janita Kan
By Janita Kan
December 19, 2017Australia
Video Captures Stunning Moment When ‘Spider Lightning’ Lights up the Whole Sky
Thunder clouds. (Srishti Manna/Wikipedia Commons)

South Australians were given a spectacular sight on the evening of Monday, Dec. 19 when a “spider lightning” crawled across the sky over a suburban beach.

The video, which was captured by Australian Caleb Travis during a thunderstorm, shows the magnificent lightning branch out into different directions while illuminating the sky in stunning shades of purple. It was captured in the seaside town of Glenelg, Adelaide.

“Spider lightning” is not a technical term but describes “long, horizontally traveling flashes often seen on the underside of stratiform clouds,” according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Adelaide was hit with two lines of thunderstorms, and more than 280,000 lightning strikes were recorded over a 24-hour period around the state and over coastal waters, reported the Australian ABC, citing the Bureau of Meteorology.

“Sometimes we’ll see thunderstorms kick off over inland parts and they … develop in the afternoon and die off in the evening so you don’t get a large number of strikes,” a Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson told the news station. “[But] this kept going for a long period of time.”

“We have two types of lightning — cloud-to-ground lightning, and cloud-to-cloud lightning,” the spokesperson continued. “[The latter] is not your typical lightning that goes straight down to the ground — it’s more contained within the cloud structure itself.”

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