Well, that post I made yesterday was pretty accurate...
Around 10:30PM, I decided to jump in the shower before I went to bed. While I was in the shower, I heard thunder and noticed that the lights were flickering. I got done in the shower, got dressed, grabbed my camera and tripod, and headed outside for a while. That "a while" turned into "an hour" quickly, and I got a few good shots of the lightning (thumbnails below).
I was standing in the doorway of the garage while I was taking the pictures, and I told myself that if it started raining on my feet, I would pack up and go back inside. Around 11:45 my feet were getting wet (from the rain, thankyouverymuch), so I came back inside and watched from the patio door. Not long after that it started hailing. Mom and Dad woke up and came out to watch, and the hail started getting bigger. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped and it was dead calm outside. I said, "this is where it gets scary," while Dad was opening the patio door. Less than 30 seconds after he opened the door, the tornado siren started going off in town.
We got the dogs down in the basement and waited a couple minutes, then Dad and I came back upstairs to look. It was still dead calm out, so we stepped out and looked at the sky.
Spotting for tornadoes at night is very dangerous and very difficult. The only way to really see anything is from the sporadic illumination of the lightning, and even then it is hard to tell because of the strobe effect. We got lucky, though...
Mom finally brought the dogs back upstairs and came out to watch the sky with us, and I just happened to spot a small funnel cloud directly over Rensselaer. We kept watching it as it progressed to the east then back to the north, until it finally dissipated.
That was pretty much the end of that storm. I told Mom and Dad that the next storm would be in the area around 5:00AM, so be prepared. I kept my laptop right by my bed with the National Weather Service radar loop loaded and set on "auto update".
Around 4:45, I was woken up by the sound of thunder and very strong wind. I rolled out of bed, opened the screen on the laptop, and saw that we were getting hit by that next storm cell. I went out to the patio door and watched for a little bit, and it was pretty cool what I saw. Basically, it was no more than wind, rain, and lightning, but it was still very cool. When the rain stopped and the wind continued, I knew the storm was over, and I went back to bed.
Today, those same storms are making their way across Ohio, Pennsylvannia, and New England. If you live in those areas and know for certain that you're going to see strong storms today, be prepared.