I have had three people killed by lightning on golf courses where I was pro at the time. Two were caddies. Lightning terrifies me, but even though warned some golfers absolutely will not take shelter, or come in, when there is lightning in the immediate vicinity.
I cannot physically drag them in but we always notify the club manager and other witnesses that we did what we could do to get them off the course just in case there would be an incident and subsequent litigation.
They've been known to strike for months.
I witnessed a similar event a few years ago from a hotel window. It was near a beach and the lightening bolt seemed to "throb" in place for a few seconds before dying out. After the storm, my wife and I were walking past the area where the strike hit and came across a line of scorched sand that terminated in a 3-inch blob of dark glass. It was pretty amazing.
I've seen something similar in earthquake experience, and others may have the same thing about the length of a firefight or the wait until medical help arrives. I'd guess that in stressful situations our internal clocks fly off the chart and things seem to last forever. Most people seem to think the heavy shaking during an earthquake last 2 or 3 times as long as it actually did.
If you were on the Great Plains, then you might well have been observing a supercell that would, indeed, be able to put on quite a show. I doubt over five seconds but the big guys can be impressive as hell.
If you were in a mountainous area, I'd guess youth may have exaggerated the experience.
Maybe it was just a beam of energy from a UFO.
for a dozen years. Supercells don't hang around in that area so my best guess is that it just seemed that long.
For what it's worth, "back in the day," we used to sit and watch the cells across the Indiana plain. The big ones, I mean the REALLY big ones, were incredible.
I was there (Indiana, not ND) on Palm Sunday, 1965. Those storms live in my memory to this day.
Keuka Lake, to be exact. For what it's worth.
Sincerely, the 2002 football team.