How to Create a Lightning Storm

Last week I posted the how to create rain tutorial, and was surprised at the number of comments requesting lightning! I guess they go hand in hand or something? Anyway, it took me a while to get the technique nailed down, but I think I've finally worked out an easy way to create and animate a lightning storm within Blender.

Reference image used: ¬°Rayos!

Lightning reference posts:

Do you have any real life lightning stories? A near miss? Post it below! I'd be interested to hear them! :)