Intimidated by Lightning: My Story

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In summary, the conversation discusses the dangers and fear associated with lightning storms. The participants share their personal experiences with lightning strikes, including damage to electronics and close calls with lightning hitting the ground near them. They also discuss the fear and precautions they take when a storm is approaching. The conversation also touches on the fear of the ocean and the unpredictability of nature.
  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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I was just thinking about this as the lightning storm faded into the distance. I used to be the first one to run outside, or while in N. California, to drive to the top of the dam to watch a lightning storm. Of course the car is pretty safe but I would get out! I never thought the odds of getting hit were actually signficant. But since becoming a lightning buff I have learned that the opposite is true. Also, Tsu and I were nearly hit by lightning; or at the least, it was so close that I could hear the ionic wind before the main discharge. And there was no discernable delay between the flash and the bang. This definitely got my attention! Finally, it doesn't take a direct hit to cause serious injuries; almost is often good enough. Not too long ago it was in the local news that a something like five to ten cows were all killed while standing under a tree that was hit by lightning. What's more, many lightning strike survivors are really screwed up for life; with all sorts of other problems popping up later. So now when I hear an approaching storm, I disconnect and terminate any land line and power connections, and I stay inside and watch out the window.

In fact, here comes another one. got to go. :biggrin:
 
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  • #2
The subway system in Oslo. It's a death-trap where they've had many near-faccidents (fires&collisions).
Just recently, they caught a disgruntled ex-employee who had started making small fires in the tunnels.

If we're unlucky, we'll get our own King's Cross disaster here.
 
  • #3
Similar story actually, although having lived through it, I'm now less worried to be in the middle of such storms!

I was out rock climbing in the Peak District with a friend a few years ago. It was a glorious day, we left to walk home mid-afternoon. We were walking across a big, exposed moor, and we began to see those trademark towering clouds close in. We carried on walking, but a bit swifter than before. We hadn't counted on thunderstorms, and were just wearing shorts and t-shirts.

About 5 minutes into the storm, and our climbing gear (round our waists) started humming and buzzing! I'd not heard of this happening before, so I got a teeny bit scared. There was nothing but heather moorland for a few miles around, so we just coiled up our ropes (trying to keep them dry) and sat on them crosslegged, until the thunder and lightning stopped. As with Ivan's story, there was a point where the flash and bang reached us simultaneously. The thunder was incredible, we could feel it pounding our lungs. It was absolutely spectacular, if terrifying. Anyway, after it passed, we were drenched to the core, but we lived to see the end of the storm, unlike a cow we passed on the way home.

(Cows get killed by lightning a lot more easily than humans; the step potential between their front and hind legs can be extremely large if they're close to the strike, and facing the right (wrong!) way.)

Anyway, the point is, thunderstorms remain one of my top 5 favourite things ever. :smile:
 
  • #4
According to what they call being "hit by lightning" on the TLC show about people that have been hit more than once, I've been "hit". I was talking on a corded phone when lightning hit the ground right outside my house and it came up through the phone. It was a pretty strong shock, it knocked the phone out of my hand and damaged my hearing in that ear for awhile. I lost a tv, 2 phones, a fax machine and an answering machine. I have super duper surge protectors everywhere now.

Another time I had just gotten into my car when my hair lifted up then I heard a very loud crack and I saw dirt flying up into the air, like a bomb had hit. Apparently lightning hit the ground a few yards from the car. I hate to think what would have happened if I had been standing outside the car.

Since the Evo child and I watched that show, we have both been afraid of lightning, I never realized how easy it is to get hit. I didn't realize how dangerous it is to get near plumbing during a storm.
 
  • #5
Wow, Evo! I'm glad that you're fully recovered, and I'm sorry to hear about your electronics. Those sound like scary experiences. Hopefully nothing like that will happen again.
 
  • #6
Evo said:
I was talking on a corded phone when lightning hit the ground right outside my house and it came up through the phone. It was a pretty strong shock, it knocked the phone out of my hand and damaged my hearing in that ear for awhile.
That must've been freakin' scary!
 
  • #7
The Atlantic Ocean can be both beautiful and intimidating. I thought I would feel safe in a 800ft ship, but it was little comfort when I was watching the monitors and could see waves coming up over the flight deck over 50 ft above sea level. The whole ship would go up and up and up and I would feel heavy. Then it would fall and it would feel like I was on the moon. The ship would plow into the next wave and all that weight came back. It didn't help that I felt like a sardine in a can.

A few hours later I was trying to sleep and a wave must have hit us broadside because the ship leaned way over to port. It almost dumped me right out of my rack. I had to hold myself in with my hands to keep from falling out. I didn't even know the ship could lean that far over without capsizing. It seemed like the ship hung on the edge for a moment and then went back vertical. It was probably the most frightened I have been of nature. There's nowhere to go. Nothing to do.

I don't think I would want to know what passing through a storm like that would be like in a small boat. Something like Perfect Storm maybe, but that movie pissed me off a little at the end. I didn't like how they depicted the storm at the end with waves that looked over 100 feet high. They are scary enough at half that height.
 
  • #8
z-component said:
Wow, Evo! I'm glad that you're fully recovered, and I'm sorry to hear about your electronics. Those sound like scary experiences. Hopefully nothing like that will happen again.
I'm cursed, stuff like this happens to me all the time. A few years ago I had three cars totaled and my house damaged in a freak "supercell" storm that had baseball sized hail.

zoobie, is this the real reason I'm alone? :frown:
 
  • #9
Huckleberry said:
I don't think I would want to know what passing through a storm like that would be like in a small boat. Something like Perfect Storm maybe, but that movie pissed me off a little at the end. I didn't like how they depicted the storm at the end with waves that looked over 100 feet high. They are scary enough at half that height.
Heck, you don't even need big waves. Being out in the bay was scary enough during a thunderstorm watching lightning strike 10 or 20 ft from the boat. I remember my parents double checking everyone was properly buckled into life jackets and wondering if they would do much good if lightning was striking the water around us. We were all terrified when that storm hit out of nowhere; by the time we saw the storm clouds, we couldn't outrun it (it wasn't in the forecast, and I don't think we had the radio on to get any weather alerts). I'm feeling a bit of an adrenaline rush even now just recalling that, and it was probably 20 or 25 years ago!

My dad told me about the time he was out with my grandfather and they got caught in something like 20 ft waves in the ocean. A coast guard ship was able to get out to them and escort them back, but as they went down one side of the wave and the CG ship down the other side, out of view of each other, there was nothing the CG could do at the time other than stay close if the boat capsized and try to fish them out of the water.
 
  • #10
Evo said:
I was talking on a corded phone when lightning hit the ground right outside my house and it came up through the phone.

Evo, the telephone is I believe the number one way to get killed by lightning. You were very lucky to survive. There is nothing like a few hundred, up to ten thousand amps through the head. Edit: well, you would probably never pull 10,000 amps through the phone, but close enough; 0.1% of that will do.

brewnog said:
About 5 minutes into the storm, and our climbing gear (round our waists) started humming and buzzing!

Then you were probably targeted by a failed step leader; meaning that you nearly took a direct hit!

Both episodes are very scary indeed!
 
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  • #11
Ivan Seeking said:
Evo, the telephone is I believe the number one way to get killed by lightning. You were very lucky to survive. There is nothing like a few hundred, up to ten thousand amps through the head. Edit: well, you would probably never pull 10,000 amps through the phone, but close enough; 0.1% of that will do.
:frown: I didn't realize it's that dangerous. I purposely have a corded phone here to use because the electricity goes out so often and corded phones don't need power. I guess I will stay off of them.

Did you see the video of the soccer game where the entire team was knocked unconscious due to a lightning strike? The field was wet and the electrical surge covered the field.

Brewnog, you're VERY lucky.

Huck, I think that's the scariest, a storm at sea in a small boat.
 
  • #12
Did you see the video of the soccer game where the entire team was knocked unconscious due to a lightning strike? The field was wet and the electrical surge covered the field.

I remember several similar episodes over the years. Who remembers Lee Trevino?
 
  • #13
I was in a large ship and I was afraid. Being in a small boat in a storm like that would have been much worse. I wasn't really at much risk, although I wouldn't have said that at the time. Seems like you had a really close call :rolleyes: , and brewnog too.
 
  • #14
A tourist boat up the Hudson River scared the crap outta me when I was 5. Since then, it has always been Disnyland *cringes*
 
  • #15
I had a friend in college who was hit by lightning. She was hiking around the Grand Canyon and there wasn't even a storm, just this bolt of lightning that hit the tree next to her and then bounced over to her somehow. She woke up in the hospital and didn't remember any of it, so there could be inaccuracies in exactly how it happened since she had to rely on what other people told her they saw. It had hit her sort of mid-back, and she had a really cool zig-zagging scar from the spot where it hit her all the way down one leg. She's just lucky it hit the tree first or she probably wouldn't have survived it. Once she healed from the burns, she was fine...really lucky it wasn't worse!
 
  • #16
I remember freaking out as kid when I saw this clown midget. Scared the aorta out of me. You never know about this clowns..
 
  • #17
My brother had nightmares for months after watching Stephen Kings "It." Can't really trust a clown anyway. They have a dubious history.
 
  • #18
Tornados, the sky turns green, and for a short time its so deadly quiet, then things fly by you that shouldn't aught to be fly'in.
Now watching the storms on the Great Lakes is breath taking, and very romantic!
 
  • #19
I've heard of that before. I've seen skies turn green but never a real tornado. What makes the sky turn green?
 
  • #20
Huckleberry said:
What makes the sky turn green?

Exactly why the green hue appears is not exactly known, but the tremendous amount of water vapor, ice crystals, and rain in the air during strong T-storms may be the culprit. [continued]
http://weathersavvy.com/Q-Tornadoes_GreenSky.html
 
  • #21
I think my house was struck by lightning a week or two ago, or at least something very nearby. As well as the normal flash and bang that come together during a close strike, there was a hiss/buzz and a blue glow to the air in the few seconds preceeding the flash & bang.
 
  • #22
Lechatelierites are the glass formed by lightning strikes on sandy soils,beaches. They are very cool to find!
 
  • #23
Evo said:
zoobie, is this the real reason I'm alone? :frown:
Prolly. Invitations to the zoobie brush shelter are generally declined when I warn the whole thing might collapse if the wind gusts, yes. Some people are picky about stuff like that.
 
  • #24
Evo said:
is this the real reason I'm alone? :frown:
Yup... you're a jinx. No one, least of all men, can be safe anywhere near you. :-p

I absolutely love lightning! It's the only thing that I miss from being back east. As Hypatia can verify, the Windsor-Detroit area is the thunderstorm capital of North America, if not the world. I have no fear of anything in nature such as storms, but have a very healthy respect for them and make sure that I'm not in a vulnerable situation when one's coming.

As much as I hate being serious, I think that the only thing that intimidates me now is this damned emphysema. It's very irritating to think that it's probably going to kill me in a couple of years despite my stubborness. I got over being diabetic, though, so I'm determined to beat this crap too. Given the history of my very large family, my life expectancy should be over 100.
 
  • #25
I find random people staring at me intimidating :redface: :frown:.
 
  • #26
Nylex said:
I find random people staring at me intimidating :redface: :frown:.
:bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye:

That should innoculate you for a while. :biggrin:
 
  • #27
Danger said:
I have no fear of anything in nature such as storms, but have a very healthy respect for them and make sure that I'm not in a vulnerable situation when one's coming.
Normally I'm this way too. I guess I'm a bit claustrophobic. The thought of being stuck inside a dark place and disoriented because the ceiling is now the floor and the way out is reversed. Not to mention that 100 other guys are all fighting for the same space. The door probably won't open. And if it does open then it might help sink the ship. Then there's hypothermia and sharks. It's not so much the storm I was afraid of.
 
  • #28
Huckleberry said:
It's not so much the storm I was afraid of.
Sorry if you felt included in my remarks. I was referring to thunderstorms, tornados, avalanches and the like. As far as I'm concerned, a ship of any size is a vulnerable place to be and I'd want no part of it. Nothing man-made can withstand the power of the sea if it decides to get ugly.
 
  • #29
No prob. I chose to include myself in your remarks so I would have something to say.

Right now the only thing that is intimidating me are computer viruses. :mad:
 
  • #30
Currently, that Star Wars Review thread is intimidating me. I really want to open it, but I'm afraid there'll be spoilers in there. Does it have spoilers, or is it safe to read without ruining the movie for me?
 
  • #31
I'm reading bits and pieces about Star Wars that I had to stop and avoid it altogether. I don't want to ruin it for myself...oh, and I read that Maaa...died :biggrin:
 
  • #32
Huckleberry said:
No prob. I chose to include myself in your remarks so I would have something to say.
Better than sitting idly by. :approve:

Huckleberry said:
Right now the only thing that is intimidating me are computer viruses. :mad:
That's another advantage to Macs—nobody seems to make viruses for them. I have Disc Warrior, but I've never had to use it. It's a lot better than Norton, but I don't know if there's a PC version.
 
  • #33
Danger said:
That's another advantage to Macs—nobody seems to make viruses for them. I have Disc Warrior, but I've never had to use it. It's a lot better than Norton, but I don't know if there's a PC version.
Oh, they do, but they don't spread like wildfire, and the one or two I've caught weren't all that nefarious. Of course, the antivirus software never seems to recognize the ones I've had. :rolleyes: The only one I remember on a Mac was probably back on OS 8 or 9, and it changed some letters in the names of menu items so they made funny words. I think it changed some fonts on stuff too. I found the file that was suspiciously new, trashed it, and everything returned to normal and I never had a problem again. I think I caught that virus from a Kinkos computer, but it could have been from someone else using that computer too since it was a shared computer.

Here, the university is supposed to have a virus scan on email as it comes through the server to remove any viruses before they get delivered, but it doesn't seem to catch all of them. I've had my own anti-viral software identify those, but I don't think any of them infect macs, or it hasn't gotten me yet anyway. Just be sure to keep all software wrapped in latex before inserting, and don't be promiscuous about who'll you accept attachments from. :biggrin: :-p
 
  • #34
Okay, here's something that really used to intimidate me, but now I just whine a lot. My work [industrial automation, systems integration] involves no end of technical manuals, often hundreds of pages long each, with perhaps ten, or even twenty or more needed for a single large job. The technology is changing so quickly, and there is so much diversity between brands, and so many new companies popping up with new products that one almost never does the same thing twice. Almost every new job involves technology that neither I or anyone else has ever used. More often than not, new technology does not work exactly as claimed, and no one really understands how it does work, or how to make it work as promised. Of course the principles are all roughly the same, but the little nuances and/or glitches found most products can be a nightmare the first time through. This often results when product lines are mixed, which is common; and this can really reduce the profit on a job. I remember one product using something called Modbus protocols, that had a unique but undocumented requirement that three particular command words must be transmitted together, or the message would be ignored. It was completely unique to this one application and it was documented nowhere. :mad:

It's pretty common for me to be popping in at PF while I'm pulling my hair out over some stupid glitch that shouldn't be happening. But when I first started out on my own it was absolutely overwhelming. There were many long weeks during which I all but thought I had died and gone to hell. And it was common that after the thrill of the contract, a first review of what I had just promised to do often filled me with terror! So even though I love what I do, and even though I consider myself to be very lucky, I literally lived in state of constant fear for much the first two years and a good part since that. Failure is not an option and there is nowhere to turn for help. After seven years, it is still a stressor at times, but that's about it.
 
  • #35
Moonbear said:
Just be sure to keep all software wrapped in latex before inserting, and don't be promiscuous about who'll you accept attachments from. :biggrin: :-p
Hey, no glove, no love. :biggrin:
I'm still on OS9, but I haven't been around much yet. I'm sure that my Warrior version is newer than any bugs that would work on my system.

Ivan Seeking said:
Okay, here's something that really used to intimidate me, but now I just whine a lot.
Sounds like a bloody nightmare. You must have a lot of patience.
 

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