Author Topic: Lightning - close encounters!  (Read 3797 times)

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Offline David C

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Lightning - close encounters!
« on: 19 December 2007, 09:35:22 AM »
Well, this is known to most chasers but it is as close as you can get:   (nb. if you are opposed to foul language, better turn the volume down!)

Wondering whether any of you have been close to being zapped, chasing or otherwise? I have to say, in almost 10 years of chasing, I have not. Over the years, I've had numerous flangs drop well within the 100 metre comfort zone, but have never had the feeling that I was actually the target! eg I rememeber one CG which which struck a 2 storey apartment block about 10-15 metres from where I was parked such that my car filled instantly with an odorous gas (I should add, this was not as a result of my bodily response to the deafening blast of thunder either!). I don't regard this as a close call as per the above clip and, other than the stench, I did not feel anything unusual.

I also remember when I was young, one occasion where my Dad and I were about to leave his work when a CG struck some metal directly opposite us...say about 10 metres away on the opposite footpath. The thunder was deafening and before I jumped back, I saw the sparks and blue flame on the ground and heard all kinds of sizzling and crackling sounds. I suppose that is pretty close but I did not feel any static electricity build-up probably because we were under an awning. I know Jimmy was almost perilously close on one occasion..... :)
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Offline Carlos E

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Re: Lightning - close encounters!
« Reply #1 on: 19 December 2007, 10:28:31 AM »
When I was little, I was in some country SA town (I can't even remember where it was). I was sitting on the back step looking at the clothesline (fair distance away). Then it got struck by lightning. My mother came out screaming and practically dragged me inside.

Offline pingtang

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Re: Lightning - close encounters!
« Reply #2 on: 19 December 2007, 10:44:26 AM »
Like you David I've had many within 100metres,but I was safe in the car/home for most of those.

The closest CG in my life actually occured last Saturday morning. The storm seemed benign,just some embedded thunder and a little bit of rain.Then "Crack",a bolt hits 15-20metres away hitting the neighbors house.Their computer and TV is stuffed,Austar gone,telephones not working. Good thing I wasnt practising my golf swings like I usually do on a Saturday morning.Luckily I was in the safety of my home.

Offline Richary

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Re: Lightning - close encounters!
« Reply #3 on: 19 December 2007, 04:27:53 PM »
Interesting. My closest one was at Gosford years ago, standing on the back deck with storms all around and nothing near me. Until one came out of the blue and hit the tree behind mine, probably about 30m away. Nice shower of golden sparks.

Have also watched out of the office window at North Ryde about 6 years ago when it hit over the road, worked out why that building that now houses WS FM has a lightning rod on top.

There have been closer that I haven't seen. I am fairly sure Coffs Harbour airport building got hit while I was there last Sunday as we lost lights for about 15 seconds though the TV monitors stayed on, with a simultaneous flash/bang. And have had plenty of close (within a couple of hundred metre) ones at home since I moved back to Sydney about 6 weeks ago. Of course mostly while I was looking the other way at the storm :-(

Offline Jimmy Deguara

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Re: Lightning - close encounters!
« Reply #4 on: 19 December 2007, 04:49:21 PM »

Lightning can be and is very dangerous. Yes I have been close on a few occasions and not proud of it. Don't get me wrong I have not become paranoid though I have observed some pretty unusual and unpredictable lightning behaviours in my time. When you get situations that a flash reflection off the ground shows up in your footage, you know you are too close and probably lucky!

Anyone that looks at this forum should take that as a warning - be sure to be safe and if chasing or caught in a storm to remain in your vehicle.


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Offline Mike

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Re: Lightning - close encounters!
« Reply #5 on: 20 December 2007, 04:53:52 AM »
I've had a few close encounters and it's something I don't particularly plan for.  When the flash ends up in the corner of your eye or behind you as Jimmy said, that's the time to seriously get out of that area and take cover.  Although as posted in the Darwin thread - being held hostage in a warehouse that got hit 3 times whilst inside it is as close as I want to get - the knowing what it can do to me is the part that scares me and not watching it!  No lightning photograph is worth your life.

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Offline Harley Pearman

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Re: Lightning - close encounters!
« Reply #6 on: 24 January 2008, 02:25:57 PM »
Lightning - Close encounters 23/1/2008

Lightning must be taken seriously and treated with ultimate respect that it deserves at all times, even from weak thunderstorms.

I still remember a case early Sunday morning January 23, 2005 (3 Years to the day I write this post), I was standing beside my garage at home in Blacktown and a twin cloud to ground lightning strike occurred. One centred on a tree 30 metres away and shattered it and another a little closer to me. I felt the heat from it and was knocked back into the wall by the shockwave. Several nearby lights were blown out. I cannot describe the noise as it was too loud. Before the strike, I heard two unusual noises similar to a helium balloon popping and then the strike.

A red car was parked near one of the strikes and that car shook violently.

Bella Vista November 22 2005, a huge bolt shattered a Eucalyptus tree from the evening storm that occurred that day about 80 metres away to my right. I saw it happen and debris from that tree was flung some 50 metres in one direction. The tree or what is left of it is now dead. Another tree was struck from the same storm in that locality which I saw as well.

The moral of the storey is that lightning can strike anywhere within an area affected by a thunderstorm and one should never be in the open or under a tree during a storm.

I still never forget the time I was in Texas and a bolt of lightning hit a powerline near me while I trying to take a photo of the storm. I heard the discharge from that go over my head along that power line.

I am very conscious of lightning because I have seen what it does to trees and places that it hits.

Harley Pearman