Behavior of Electrical Storms

Here in New England we get our share of rain accompanied by lightning and thunder.

Often times the storm builds to a crescendo and gradually subside. Then not too long after we get the lightning, thunder and rain again, during which time someone almost certainly will observe that the storm has ‘circled back’.

My question is, does this actually happen? Do storms frequently flow in a circular pattern, and “circle back” to nail us again?? It seems unlikely if we go by the doppler radar we see on TV weather reports. They show the storms traveling (short distances) in straight lines never circularly.

Are the re-occurrences of this activity, then, simply storms behind the ‘first’ storm? —if you get my drift.

We get that on a scale where the pattern covers a couple states. One night it hits from the SW and the next day from the NE. You can see new storms spawn where the originals came from, if you watch the doppler radar on a stormy day. They follow right behind the original storm, but are not the same storm circling back.

Storms often “backbuild” so even though they are travelling, say, northeast, new activity will be triggered on the back edge of the storm cell, where the conditions are ripe for storm development. So you can end up getting nailed more than once by the same system.

As a glider pilot, I tend to pay attention to thunderstorms and their tracks. Based on my experience, a circular track would be unusual.

Thanks folks.

You’ve answered my question.