http://stormhighway.com/plantstorms.php Power plants and large industrial facilities that emit large volumes of hot exhaust have been observed to act as triggers or ‘initiators’ of thunderstorms within an atmosphere primed for convective development. This is particularly true of sites with large cooling tower installations that release large amounts of steam and resultant hot air into the atmosphere. The phenomenon is similar in class to the wildfire-induced ‘pyrocumulus’.
This time-lapse is of a triggering event at the John Amos power plant near Poca, WV on the evening of June 14, 2008, resulting in a continuous, stationary rain shower around the Poca/Cross Lanes area. I’ve documented this phenomenon previously (in July of 2002) and put together a write-up on it (see link below), but I haven’t seen such a well-defined example of this since then – until the June 2008 event. I set up in Nitro next to I-64 and filmed a 35-minute HD timelapse of the cell at sunset. I also did a few panoramas of this impressive scene. At times the shower resembled an LP supercell, with a rounded, smooth striated base and periodic inflow tails. Unlike the July 2002 event, I didn’t see lightning or a heavy precip shaft this time. Deep-layer directional shear was present, with southwesterly flow aloft, westerly/northwesterly flow at the mid-levels and south-southwesterly flow at the surface. I first noticed the cell at around 8:00PM, and it was still going when I left it at 10:00PM. Given the low-level visual structure of this cell, it would have been interesting to see what it would have done with a little more ambient instability.
Read more on artificially triggered convection here: