Intense would be the word of choice if given only one word to describe it but it was really more like extremely intense. Do you remember those storm scenes from episodes of Little House on the prairie where the lightening seemed to strike continuously? Well this was at least twice as bad and the worst I have ever witnessed in my life. I witnessed it in bed in the wee hours of night wondering if the layers of drywall, wood, insulation, shingles and steel above me would be enough protection from a direct strike. I was afraid to even get out of bed to look out the open window for fear of being struck through it. I rode it out cowered under the covers watching the ceiling fan and reassuring Little Abbey whenever she stirred.
During the worst of it that lasted around twenty minutes, I was counting around forty strikes a minute with around a half dozen or so every minute having no discernable time gap between the flash and boom. You could hear the crackling sizzle at the lightening streaked through the sky and a few times I thought I could hear explosions after the explosion of thunder. Twice, every hair on my body stood up right before a particularly loud strike. I pondered if I would know if my house took a direct hit besides the obvious smell of smoke or a brief bit of pain before I turned into ash. Many times my fan that was in the window would slow way down right after a strike from I assume a power surge (you would have thought it would have sped up) and the answering machine and other electrical stuff downstairs would beep but everything kept right on ticking.
During the worst of it, Little Abbey sat bolt upright in bed and then laid back down and pulled the blankets over her head. Mrs. Abbey was away for the evening at our apartment and so I had let Little Abbey hop into bed and as it turned out, it was a good night to do so and probably saved me a couple trips to her room to reassure her that the world wasn't ending. In the morning when she woke up, the first thing she said was, "Daddy, the rains done." The second thing she said was, "I'm not scared daddy." Bless her little heart.
The most extemely intense part of the lightening last for about twenty minutes but seemed to take a lifetime. However lightening continued to strike uncomfortably close for a couple more hours before dwindling away. Five hours later as I was getting ready for work, lightening was still lighting up the eastern horizon. Sadly, the rain fell in buckets almost non-stop all night meaning that the farmers in the area might not get any beans in the ground at all.