Great Timing!! It's Lightning Safety Awareness Week

by Melissa Brunner

All sorts of plays on word can be made. You might say we started our anniversary with a "bang," or how, after 11 years, it's nice to know we still have a "spark" in our marriage. Perhaps you think we have "electric" personalities. However you view it, I have to say I had a front-row seat to the awesome power of nature. Well, the aftermath - the actual event shook me out of bed Friday morning!

As if to foreshadow Lightning Safety Awareness Week, our house took a lightening hit Friday morning. If you follow my Facebook page (which is you already know a bit of the story and that it happened on our 11th wedding anniversary. About 6am, we heard a loud boom and the house shook. We thought something had exploded, that's how loud it was. We tried to turn on the TV, discovered we had no power, so thought perhaps a transformer blew near the house. Ricky, Lucy and Buddy had stayed outside that night because we didn't think any storms were on the way. There wasn't any rain or any further thunder or lightning at that moment, but the sky looked dark, so Doug went downstairs to bring them in. Just before he went out the door, I heard the hissing noise from the basement. Turned out that a hole was blown in the copper line from the outside A/C unit to the inside unit.

We made a quick fix to address that, then Doug continued on to get the dogs. Moments later, he came back to the house to show me how lucky we are that Ricky, Lucy and Buddy are still with us. The latch to the gate leading into our fenced area was blown straight out and the gate to the dog's pen was welded shut. As Doug was showing me that, I turned around and said, "Wow!" On the other side of their pen, we saw a trench about 8 feet long and 2 feet deep blown out from around the base of a clump of trees. The side of one tree was scorched a good 15 feet into the area. Chunks of dirt and bark landed yards away. If the dogs had been inside, we would swear there was no way they could have survived. As we've gotten to looking further, we found the charge must have traveled around their enclosure into the larger fencing. We found a gate some 300 feet one direction that's fastened with a chain - the links of the chain all welded together. The other direction, it blew the one gate latch open and made the turn up the neighbor's fence - there are weld marks on all their gate latches, too. It kept going straight, too, with scorch marks showing up another 200 feet down the fence.

Inside the house, besides the A/C issue, all our phone lines were blown out - the computer modem was blown off the desk, it's top half across the room. Phone jack covers also turned up along opposite walls, their insides scorched black. Outside the house, the phone box exploded open and dislodged from the house. Several electrical outlets are destroyed, we've found some wire melted, our computer (which was unplugged, but had the phone line still running into it) was fried. We continue assessing and making new discoveries.

You hear the warnings about the danger of lightning. You hear about unplugging electronics and staying off the phone. You hear how you shouldn't be outside. I heeded those warnings somewhat, but I will be a lot more vigilant from now on. (The dogs, for example, have been inside every night since with chances of storms in the forecast!) Lightning is powerful stuff.



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