WEATHER PREPAREDNESS

Video When Lightning Zapped My Internet Modem & Router

(exact video frame when it happened) (video below)

Lately, every afternoon we have been getting thunderstorms. In fact they’re all around me right now as I type this…

Which is what reminded me of a video that I took a few years ago during a thunderstorm when a lightning bolt zapped directly overhead and blew up a few things in the house…

I dug through my files and found it. There was a severe thunderstorm warning and I saw one coming as I watched my radar app. So what did I do? I decided to video the event.

Actually the entire video is 10 minutes long from when it began until the rainbow appeared over the mountains. But I snipped out a 20 second segment which began 2 minutes into the video itself.

I opened the slider to the deck and started filming (not recommended)….

Thunder and Lightning picked up in intensity. Getting closer. Then two minutes later a bolt zapped directly overhead!

You know how that goes… You see the extra bright flash with it’s crisp accompanying zap — and you cringe as you know that a few milliseconds later the air’s going to explode. And it does…

KA-BOOM!!

Here it is for your viewing and listening pleasure:

The result was a blown up internet modem and external router. Down for a few days till the replacements arrived.

So why am I posting this? Well, severe weather events can be exhilarating to observe. But dangerous too. It wasn’t too smart of me to be standing in the open slider doorway filming this. I won’t do that again!

Lightning is the obvious danger here. They say if you can hear thunder, lightning can strike at your location (even if it’s seemingly far away). There are some lightning bolts that can travel great distances. Ever heard of a bolt out of the blue? Well, it can happen!

So anyway, I thought I would share the video segment for fun…

Here’s a thought: Lightning Protection for your house. EMPShield.com makes various devices for this type of protection, depending on your application:

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[ Read: Lightning Safety | Tips | Facts | Dangers ]

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21 Comments

  1. Ive always wondered if it can affect all the wireless stuff like Ipads, tablets and the like.

    All that aside, we kinda like rainy foggy weather, usually accompanied by coffee, a fire and some cartoons or something.

  2. I dont know if you ever lived in Florida. We spent 35 yrs in Central Florida and the summer thunderstorms are EPIC! One blew out an outlet in the house next door (literally blew the outlet to the other side of the room) at the same time it took out our A/C compressor. Had friends who had a bolt peel a 4 inch strip of bark off of a 75 ft pine tree, burned a path to the house and took out all electrical gadgets except the refrigerator. Yup, tv, stereo, a/c, microwave, garage door opener, you name it, but that old fridge just kept on ticking! I think they sold it with the house when they went their separate ways and it was still going.

  3. What beautiful rain!! That’s a rare event here in the desert of Texas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen lightning strike so close.

  4. Lightning can and will do tremendous damage to all electrical/electronic devices. It does not require a direct hit to cause damage if the strike is close enough. If I remember correctly about 10% of strikes have 10 or more times the current of the common type of strikes. If you have ever seen one they actually look blue, at least to me they do. These high current strikes do the most damage.

    Contrary to popular belief most lighting doesn’t strike from the cloud down it actually forms from the ground up and there are several discharges back and forth between ground and cloud in “one strike”. Rarely there are cloud to ground initial strikes so it can happen.

    A good deep copper clad ground rod with solid connections are your best start at protection. It can get complicated from there. But if lightning does strike close by nothing and I do mean nothing will help. The voltage gradient is just too steep (the voltage between one point and another just two or three feet apart, potentially several kilo volts).

  5. Oh yes and I forgot, the whole house smelled like burnt ozone after that strike. The fire department had to come and check things out to make sure there were no smoldering fires anywhere.

  6. Electrical equipment failure is bad enough.

    I lived in the tropics for many years where lightning was a menace.

    We have a saying. : If your close enough to a lightning strike to smell the ozone then you are affected.Neurological problems could turn up years later.

    An MRI or brainscan can show up some brain damage you may not even be aware of.

    1. Interesting, I was unaware of that. I was about 11 or 12 at the time. The lightening bolt was less than 5 feet from me when it happened. If I had blinked at that moment, I would have missed it.

      1. My tree was hit by lightning three weeks ago. Thru a breaker and fried my Wi-Fi and computer tower which were on surge protector s. Can’t afford the emp protection but the electric co-op has while house surge protectors. I got one, no it will not prefect my house if an emp hits. But it is only $4/ month

  7. Not much scares me any more but I am afraid of lightning. When I lived in Florida (the lightning capitol of USA) I had lightning protection installed on my 1-level house. My neighbors all made fun of me and told me I was being stupid. The guys in the 2-3 level houses near by said my house would not be hit because their houses were higher than mine. During the 10 years I lived there 7 houses, including mine, were struck by lightning; half were 1-level houses. The protection on my house did what it was supposed to and there was no damage to anything. The other houses had all their electronics fried, including a vehicle, and 5 had fires started. One lady was burned by electricity jumping from her computer while she was using it. Another person was shocked while doing dishes. While fascinating to watch, it is unpredictable and dangerous.

  8. many years ago as i call it the young and stupid days four of us were all tripping on LSD i have long since been clean and sober for 33 years
    at a park at a local lake watching a thunder storm come in when not more than 100 feet away lighting struck a tree from us we all where all in 2 diff cars at the same time it struck on the passenger side so all of us just about ended up in drivers laps and there was another guy that none of knew sitting on a rock watch it to when the lighting struck he practically did a back flip in the air spun around and i swear there was smoke coming off his sneakers as he got outta there

  9. Lightening killed a friend of my nephew. They were out messing around and a storm blew through and yep, killed him and blew the shoes off of another.
    I did boot camp in Florida in the spring/summer. Everyday a big storm came through and shut everything down. Lightening bolts down to the ground and torrential rain. We have to unplug everything and stay away from the windows

  10. I have certainly seen lightning strikes do some crazy and inconsistent things, particularly to home electronics. This device looks like an interesting option for lightning mitigation. Regarding them calling it “EMP Shield,” that sounds a bit misleading. Even the most novice study of EMPs and solar flare events will reveal that this device would present no true solution for such case. Per their own description “The antenna that is most affected will be the nation’s power grid, but all arrays of wiring (even in your house) will act as large or small antennas and will produce the flow of electricity and over-voltage conditions.” The problem is that the circuitry in all of our electronics form “small antennas” and would fry their components. So, even if your home’s wiring is protected, none of your devices, whether plugged in or not, would be.

    Now, I confess that am truly am a novice at this stuff, but one with a back-up solar charge controller, inverter, etc. in my faraday cage. Others commenting on here will certainly know more than me and I welcome any corrections to my thinking.

    Thanks for the great content on this blog!

    1. Lorenzo,
      I DEFINITELY have multiple surge protection products within my home infrastructure. It would be foolish not to spend some minimal money on these protection devices after having invested so much in what it might be protecting (e.g. a solar power system). I have lots of electronic equipment in my home beyond just the solar power system too. Sure, a direct lightning strike IS going to fry some stuff. But it’s well worth spending several hundred bucks when you’ve got thousands invested in electronics. Just for MSB business alone, I have lots of computers, monitors, office equipment… Cha-ching.

  11. When in the country house, I watched a thunderstorm lightning come through the kitchen stove.
    When we moved to a new house, the large black spot was still on the side of the stove.
    With a pond in the back, huge 200 year old trees surrounding the little house on each side, and a tin/aluminum roof, what did I suspect would happen??

  12. Ken…. The secret is out!
    The reason why the lightning hit so close is because you are hiding Thor’s Hammer somewhere on your property.
    🔨

  13. Ken, I am glad you survived your close encounter with thunderstorm. I would be curious the replacement cost of the equipment.

    I spent some time in a fire watch tower in my youth decades ago. The stool I was sitting on had glass insulated feet. I felt I was ready and prepared for the oncoming thunderhead until I realized that I gotta pee…longest 15 minutes sitting on a stool in my life ( watching St Elmo’s fire dancing around various objects). After that episode, I kept an empty Gatorade jar around as an impromptu urinal.

    I do not fear lightning butt I have a very healthy respect for the amount of raw power contained within a bolt of lightning.

  14. Some places get far more lightning strikes than others. A neighborhood I lived in in No VA saw lightning dancing all over every storm. Same with a couple countries where I’ve lived. However, here where we get rain about half the days of the year I’ve heard thunder once in two years of living here full time. And not seen lightning at all.

    The 19 year old firstborn son of a friend of mine was killed by lightning. He and his friends were playing soccer when a storm blew up and he was struck. My friend was devastated. They didn’t know that immediately performing CPR might have helped. That country had no practice of issuing PSAs. I put one out to our folks and arranged for CPR classes.

    If you live in a lightning prone area, please consider taking a CPR class. Lightning strike deaths are not frequent in the US, but CPR is good preparation for a variety of circumstances.

    Here’s a chart on US lightning deaths

    weather.gov/media/safety/59-16_State_Ltg_Fatality%2BFatality_Rate_Maps.pdf

  15. HA! I grow up in Fla. Polk County was considered “the lightening capital of the world”. I used to sit out under the car port and watch the power of god bouncing around the neighborhood. I learned to feel the static in the air enough to know when a bolt was about to hit close by. Later when I was at USF my roommate and I were watching a major storm from the doorway of our dorm room. Yep! I could feel one of the big ones about to discharge, so I looked around for the tallest thing within sight, which was a cement power pole about 200ft away. Then told him ” Hey I think its gonna hit that light pole over there” . . . Than BAM Kaboom! That strike blew about a foot off the top of that pole! (I quit doing that after that event). Respect that stuff now!

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