Spring is finally upon us. Just for a hoot, I was looking at lightning-related subjects, and they’re startling and disturbing! The factors that determine people who are struck are SEVERAL, even where you reside - Melvin Roberts, a resident of Seneca, SC holds the Guinness record of being struck 11 times. Go with your common-sense gut feelings as the weather turns around, and remember that we’re essentially electro-chemical creatures. FYI
55 years ago, Rick and I were buddies in Boy Scouts. The Troop met weekly, camped monthly, and we had a lot of fun. 40 years ago I was in the Air Force and Rick was one of the most popular teachers at the Cathedral School. One spring day he was outdoors on the school grounds when a sudden thunderstorm hit. Apparently forgetting our training from Scouting days, Rick huddled his class under the big (oak?) tree to avoid the downpour. The lightning strike killed him instantly. His funeral at the Cathedral School Chapel was the largest overflow crowd I have seen at any such service,
Another unfortunate was Roy Sullivan, a park ranger struck 7 times between 1942 and 1977 - his hat was knocked off, his fly was welded shut, and he was knocked down during these strikes. Some have been struck on clear, sunny days, miles from any storm. I think Sullivan was featured on a NOVA episode.
Seen strikes from my sailboat, one time in an anchorage , and several hitting the ocean at a distance. One hit a maple tree in my yard as a kid, saw that one as well. God is an arc welder, with no OSHA oversight. The strikes I saw remind me of those days where your nod your head, but the shield stays up.
He is also an artist, as in Fulgurites. When I was a kid we would hit the seashore after a lightning storm looking for them. Any we found we took to a local rock shop. Small ones, 6 - 12", earned us around $10 (this was in the late 1950’s). Larger ones, especially those with ‘branches’ could bring over $100. The original renewable artistic medium.
One day when I was sitting in our family’s dining room, a large maple tree in our turnaround was struck and split in half - the crack was as loud as a .30-‘06, and I thought I’d been shot or shot at - the tree was about 20’ away. Damn!
I have done a lot of long distance backpacking and out door work so have been stuck out in more than a few major lightning storms.
The worst being a massive storm that overtook me while I was hiking as fast as I could to a shelter I knew was less than a mile away. The lightning was striking all around me culminating in a flash bang that appeared as a white light all around me. The electricity traveled up my walking stick and arm despite the thick foam handle. I instinctively tossed the stick down the trail and ducked down before gathering my composure and making a final run to the shelter.
On another occasion I was working as a ranger on top of a mountain in VT. The mountain was in thick clouds so I couldn’t see any storms coming but got a feeling that things were about to go south despite the lack of rain or thunder. The mountain has a long ridge line with a 1.5 mile exposed trail to a visitor center and parking area. I sent the other rangers back with instructions to tell other hikers to turn around and proceeded to try and convince other hikers on the summit to pack up and head back. Most folks looked at me funny saying the forecast didn’t call for thunder storms. I said it’s about to get bad, I’m heading back and your on your own just minutes before loud thunder cracked overhead and it started to pour. Panic ensued and I had to calm everyone down and guide them down a side trail that dropped off the ridge just below tree line but was still pretty exposed. We hit the parking lot and visitor center just as a lightning strike hit a TV station broadcast tower on top of the visitor center. Everyone was soaked but alive.
Same…and I was looking at the tree when it got hit…like getting “flashed” welding…but louder.
Did someone say thick clouds?
Mt. Adams, got hailed on above tree line this day…in August. 10 minutes later it was steamy with a 100% chance of gnats
New England and weather forecasts don’t go well together, whether it’s NOAA or your local station.
When I hiked the AT a long long time ago, I had perfect weather going over the Presidential Range. Blue sky and a very lite breeze. But a few days before on Franconia Ridge I was clouded in with 60 to 70mph gusts trying to push me off the mountain.
When I was a kid, my dad and I were reloading shotgun shells for the weekend at the gun club. All of the sudden there was an instantaneous flash and explosion, the lights went out and we could smell something that smelled hot. My dad thought he had blown the place up. I was frozen, couldn’t move. My mother came in to see what had happened, we were both standing there. Upon further inspection, we found, lightning had struck the power poll at the corner of the property. No harm no foul, just some wet and dirty underwear.
Wonder how the Presidential range was that day? I’ve been up in the clouds and crap in the Presidentials, and catching glimpse of Franconia ridge had me wishing I could start the day over…but yeah, Francisco Ridge must suck during a storm. I was on Lafayette one day with the crowds, and a squall came through. My son and I donned our goretex, hunkered down, and had the ridge to ourself 20 minutes later. Love those mountains, but got to pack for any weather.
I had a spectacular time when I went over the presidentials on my AT hike. Did the whole range in one day. Maybe 18ish miles and an insane amount of elevation gain and loss. But I had been hiking for months at that point so it was relatively easy especially since I had left my heavy pack in town and was hiking with only a small day pack. It was very clear but not quite clear enough to see the ocean. The only downside is that Mt. Washington was swarming with crowds of people who took the train or road up. The rest of the hike was a lot less crowded especially coming down the North Side as the sun was getting low in the sky.
Sometimes the bolt likes to take a swim, can you imagine being in your boat.
I posted this on another thread but still awe inspiring.
THAT was a wakeup call! Has anyone had an experience with “ball” lightning?
Pre- cooked fishing!
Yup, just go down stream and pick them up as they float by.