Pix of the lightning strike damage in our yard

Vertical stripe down our tree where lightning blew the bark off:


DJ and I were watching a movie today in my room. It had been raining, but the rain had mostly stopped. There was no wind, it was still a little cloudy and drizzly, but the sun was even coming out a little.

Suddenly, we heard the loudest CRACK!  It sounded as if someone had discharged a shotgun in the room, but I could tell it came from outside. A flash of light filled the room, even with the shades drawn. The power went off in the house for a quick moment, then came back on. For a split second, I figured I’d been droned. Realizing I was still alive, I suddenly figured out that it was lightning. The sound and flash had been at the same moment, so I knew it had been nearby.

We looked out the window, and saw a stripe down the tree, and chunks of wood all over the backyard.

What a thing to happen on my 50th birthday! While we were never in any real danger, it’s pretty amazing to have lightning strike about 30 feet away, on the other side of a wall. It would have been pretty ironic to live the life I lived up to age 30, then make it to age 50 and get killed by lightning.

I am willing to bet that all the work and money I put into having our house wiring and grounding fixed, and buying surge protectors for all the gear may have saved the gear, or even our lives.

–Michael W. Dean

Here are pix of the wood chunks in the yard:







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5 Responses to Pix of the lightning strike damage in our yard

  1. Hmmm, had a direct lightning strike on the power pole next to my house about seven years ago. It clicked off the main breaker on the pole at the time. I reset it, and have had no problems with anything since. The only thing seriously surge protected in here is my computer, on a big battery back up unit along with the monitor. Still works fine.

    Guess I just got lucky. :)

  2. Chris aka GypsySoul72

    This kind of reminds me of a time decades ago in the 10th grade when lighting struck a tree RIGHT outside of the large bay window I was sitting by. Freaked me out when I saw the streak of missing bark, but at least my music gear survived as well lol.

  3. Don’t get too over confident, that tree looks to be at least 8 tons of damp wood hanging in the air. The branch that took a hit looks to be the one aimed right at your house if dies.

    You should have some idea how bad the damage is based where the leaves die first. Might be a good idea to get some height measurements on the tree via triangulation, or you could buy a laser tape measure at home depot for about $90 if you wanted to cheat. 😉 Then you’ll have some info for the tree guy if it turns out you have to get a few branches chopped.

    Anyway, that part may be inexpensive compared to what you have to do next. All the MOVs and GaAs devices, the surge suppression elements in the surge bars, are most likely on borrowed time. Scribble down the lightning hit date on them, maybe make a little lightning bolt pattern, and then work on replacing them. You can always migrate the old ones out to less essential unprotected equipment.

    You can also just update your main panel, or the electrician can, pretty quickly using either of these options.



    Now, maybe I’m wrong here, and you might have lucked out. An easy way to tell, first buy some replacement light bulbs, compact fluorescents, or
    other lighting. Then wait for the show. 😀 If your CF lightbulbs start to go out like popcorn, your place took a hit. You’ll know in about two weeks once your last CF bulb flashbulbs out of existence.

    Next your land line phones and answering machines will die, but probably only from the line in side, as people usually don’t suppress these, and only Panasonic seems to have religiously incorporated MOVs into their devices. Fax machine manufacturers used to put them in, but mainly to protect the computer guts. Anyway, if they’re shorted they have to be removed, replaced, and while you’re in there, might as well do the optoisolators. Most just chuck the stuff and spend $79 for a new answering machine with 3 wireless extensions. 😉

    Next will be your router, and broadband modem. Probably not all at once. First it’ll hang, and you’ll need to reset it, over, and over, and over. Doesn’t matter if it was on a suppressed line, the RF over your CAT5 cable from a backyard hit can damage circuitry from eddy currents. Think of the lightning bolt as an EMP with fusion at its core, because it is! 😀

    If your microwave dies, well, it’s not dead really. Some have MOVs on the control panel inside, and sacrificial junctions. Replace the MOV, bridge the spare junction. If on the spare junction, scrape down an old on, and conductive paint on a new junction. Nah, just kidding, don’t play inside of microwaves kids, you’ll probably die. If not from the 4000V 1/3rd amp power supply, then from the 8 year old rancid ham juice inside. 😀

    For other tips on how to electrocute yourself see this old collection of FAQs. http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/F_Repair.html and pieces parts are available here. http://www.mcmelectronics.com

    • admin

      Thanks! will look into all this.

      My modem was wonky this morning, had to be reset to work.


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