Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I caught the end of a Weather Channel show about thunder storms and lightning. It was a rather timely coincidence as last Friday I had talked myself into running on the treadmill at my gym as opposed to my usual I am going to run outside come hell or high water. Indeed, many a high water has come during my runs and the last one, a few weeks ago, brought sharp thunder and bright cracks of lightning, so much so that I promised the powers that be that I would change my evil ways if I could just make it home.

You see, when you are three miles out and the storm breaks you really don't have much choice but to keep running. Oh, and I have done it more times than I can count on one hand, perhaps both hands. I knew it was crazy dangerous but not how much so. [ I would always think, "oh please don't let my Mom see me." Except last time. I would have taken a ride from ANYONE but no one stopped to offer. - it was that bad]

So I learned that the treadmill will not kill me and lightning might - here are a few tidbits from

The first is that this spark is spelled lightning not lightening or lightining :)
Second, lightning strikes the earth millions of times EACH day. The state which has the most lightning strikes a year is FLORIDA. That is where I LIVE!
Third, it kills people. Oh I guess I knew that. It contains volts of electricity.
Fourth, if there is a thunderstorm there will be lightning.
Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, it is closer than you think.

The last two are worth repeating and respecting. It makes me glad I took the time to track down the rest of the story.

The weather channel tutorial teaches that you do not have to have thunder to be hit by lightning and that if you can SEE it or Hear it (if there is thunder), then you are too close. It CAN hit you.

The website also offers a valuable tool for calculating how close the lightning is - though I think if I had known this the last time I was in a storm I may have just had a heart attack from fear.

Funny because I did remember that counting was important - but I didn't really know why or what exactly. I was counting between thunder booms - hoping they were not getting closer! The formula is actually this:

See lightning and count until you hear thunder (if you do) what ever number you get, divide by 5. So see lightning and count 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/ nine counts and BOOM !!!! 9/5 is less than two. So the lightning just struck less than two miles from YOU.

I will be respectful of those darkening clouds. This is the type of thing that is just as important as eating a low fat diet and wearing a seat belt. We must control the things we can and reduce our chances of the inevitable!

No comments: