The Lightning Strike List

Just for giggles, here are the 5 lightning strikes (so far) that I have been within 100 feet of:

  • While a teen, lightning struck a tree right outside my bedroom window. Immediately rusted a supporting wire of the tree, killing the crown of the tree above the wire, and screwed up a couple of electronic items in the house. The tree is still alive, but didn’t quite grow in the same pattern as is typical for its species.
  • Lightning struck a tree right outside of the window of my cabin at summer camp. Stuck little bits of wood into the screen near my head.
  • Lightning struck a tree about 75 feet from me as I was running between the mess hall and my cabin at summer camp. Knocked me on my ass, temporarily blinded me and left me deaf for a while. Nothing like sitting on your ass in a puddle in a rain storm blind, deaf, confused, and wondering why the hell your world has just exploded.
  • While we were home, lightning struck a telephone pole outside our house in Chicago, traveled down the phone line, shocked both my wife and I, blew up the phones in the house, took out my fax modem, a serial port on my NeXT cube, the HP PA-RISC workstation, the hub in between and the network card in an Intel based workstation.
  • Again while we were home, our house in Connecticut was struck by lightning. Took out the TiVo’s modem, a hub, the DSL modem, an airport base station, and — oddly — the garage door opener.

I have been within a couple of hundred yards of lightning strikes many times, often knocking out electricity or taking out a random electronic component somewhere in the vicinity. My parent’s house — same one in the first bullet above — has been struck at least one other time, maybe twice. Took out the fridge, garage doors (what is up with that?), a TV or two, and the central heating/air conditioning, but didn’t muck up the computer. Go figure.

What have I learned?

Lightning is very bright. And loud. And that whole “doesn’t strike twice” thing is a complete lie.

2 Responses to “The Lightning Strike List”

  1. Julian Bennett Holmes says:

    Wow. I’ve never been anywhere near lightning, but that’s probably because I live in the city.

  2. Jeffrey J. Hoover says:

    Lightning never strikes the same place twice!

    That’s because after the first strike, it’s not the same place! 😀

    (Every grade schooler know that!)

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