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8/7 Lightning strike on my house.(5 posts)

8/7 Lightning strike on my house.128
Aug 15, 2003 5:24 AM
I've never experienced anything like it. The most awesome display of natural phenomena I've yet known. I was just leisurely standing at the open back door, looking through the screen door, watching the distant lightning, listening to the awesome low rumble of distant rolling thunder, playing an easy tune on the guitar and then.


a bolt out of the blue (a strike away from the storm itself), the brightest damn light I'd ever seen, like instantaneously standing IN the sun, and before I could even register that thought, the loudest, mightiest sound I'd ever heard just hit, real hard and flat.

I was stunned for about five minutes. I think the house took a direct hit. Power and telephone out cold. Suddenly the house was dark, I didn't really remember putting my guitar down or navigating the dark house, I just sort of realized I was standing in the middle of the house, in the dark, under the most aggressive lightening I've ever experienced. Like a mid-west storm I imagine. Lightening as wide as it was high. I believe I was more like IN the lighting, while IN the house.

Then it poured Biblically, unreasonably hard, drops the size of, well it was like one big continuous drop (2 in. in one hour), and the bolts of lightning hurled and struck furiously with what seemed like cold anger for maybe 20 minutes. All around. The storm was just sitting on top of me and the house. Loud and hard. Knocking on the roof! An hour and a half later is eased up. Yup, I was scared... I would be safe so long as the house held together. This was not just weather but dangerous weather. At dawn I checked that the roof was still on. It was. No downed trees, no scorched earth. What happened out here?

Tried to turn on the stereo the next morning and a small but loud explosion and bright flash popped out of the amplifier. Still trouble there. Flipped the circuit breakers the next am and power was restored. Thank you breakers and Romex. Next night after work I'm looking around some more. Found the lid of the cable junction box blown off about 20 feet from the house, the cable wire cover with a 3 in gash in it and a burn mark across the clapboard. Phone still out. Dead. Have to buy new phones.

I think the house (200 y/o colonial on the So. Maine coast) performed admirably well under the circumstances, the electrical service appears to have handled a ferocious lightning strike and survived.

Maybe that started the blackout??

Ever been close to lightening or super-weather?


Lightening is the second greatest weather related killer in the US (second to floods) It is 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit, 4 times the heat of the sun's surface and generates 100 million volts.
Not as close as you wereKristin
Aug 15, 2003 5:49 AM
You're lucky. Extremely lucky. People can get killed even in their homes. Does lightening cause any future risk to your electical system or create the risk of fire in your house? I don't know the answer to this, but you may want to find out.

I've been within a few hundred yards from lightening several times. I have been observing and photographing midwest storms since '96. From your description, I don't think this was a bolt from the blue. Out of the blue bolts span 2-4 miles from a cell and are very rare. You say that a ferocious storm began over your house immediately after the strike. This indicates that a young supercell became active and you were its first victim. Lucky you. Sorry about your stereo and phones, ect...

There is a term in meteorology--in chasing specifically--called the "bear cage." I seem to possess an instinctive ability to locate the bear cage and put myself there. I gotta change that!!! Thankfully I haven't done any observing in the pan handle. But I have been right in the action on many occassions. Its both awesome and terrifying.
Not as close as you were128
Aug 15, 2003 8:02 AM
I thought I might have an electrician look it over, but I think the system is designed to break in such an event. But it does seem the stereo held a fair amount of static electricity after the strike. I wonder why. It still turns on but switches off with a click after a couple secs. I'm thinking it's something easy to fix....

Interesting, and cool, hobby you have there (do you photograph any less dangerous subject matter? :) ). And thanks for the techinical info. Interesting.

-Proceed cautiously to the bear cage.
2 months ago in my back yardJS Haiku Shop
Aug 15, 2003 6:19 AM
precursor to a short, mild electrical/rain storm. i was standing in the living room, blinds open, about 4:30 pm on a saturday. glanced out the back windows for some reason, then suddenly #whack# lightening strikes a tree in my back yard about 20 feet away. blinding white light, huge explosive sound, then eerie quiet. large pieces of bark and tree were still coming out of the sky 30+ seconds later. that tree is still living and shows only small indications of taking a direct strike, though occasionally live/apparently healthy limbs suddenly splinter and fall off.
re: 8/7 Lightning strike on my house.Alpedhuez55
Aug 15, 2003 6:41 AM
Playing guitar during a lightning strike??? Isn't that how the movie "Young Einststein" started??? Man that was bad. Did your hair did not turn red and stand on its end ;-)

I think yesterday was the first day in Boston in two weeks without either rain or a thunderstorm. It has been a strange year for weather so far. First a lot of snow and how oppressive humidity and heavy rain. My guess is it will snow in October again!!!

Mike Y.