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Lightning cannot "loop", this is perpetual motion. It has to go down in potential. The looping is due to the suppressed third dimension--- the lightning is probably travelling towards the camera then down. –  Ron Maimon Sep 16 '12 at 8:10
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I would put it down to coincidence: a cloud to cloud bolt concurrent with a cloud to earth bolt.

Have a look at this, where branching is also seen. Do not forget that in cloud to ground, a bolt starts from the ground.

enter image description here

Or this one, which shows following two branches in cloud to cloud:

enter image description here

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