Author Topic: Another Close Call....  (Read 976 times)

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Offline GregJ

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Another Close Call....
« on: January 18, 2018, 08:33:54 PM »
Last night we had two lightning strikes close by.  The first one was WAY too close for comfort....



The next one was at a much safer distance....



But at the end of the day we were treated to very nice, but brief sunset....  Maybe 2 minutes....



Thought I'd Share,

Greg

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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2018, 08:43:03 PM »
Wonderful shots.  And never hesitate to share, ever.

I just feel deeply sorry for those who neither get out doors to see the wonder of our atmosphere especially those fleeting moments which only last for a few seconds like a meteor's brief flash, or the sunsets which change so fast, nor see any of the beauty when they are outdoors.

I am reminded of John Muir's experience with the thunderstorm and him climbing a tree (probably not a great idea) but rejoicing in the storm rather than being frightened and running from it.

I guess we must all be part poets and artists to see this spectacle that unfolds every minute around us.

Thanks again.  Very moving.
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Offline GregJ

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2018, 09:34:08 PM »
Thank you Dale for your incredibly kind words....  Minutes... No... Seconds count to capture "THE" moment.  Yes, I am a bit of a Mother Nature junkie...  In fact I really don't like credit for the photos I share.  Mother Nature provided the content....  I have the privilege to share the beauty that my cameras can provide.  I have yet to make a dime on a watermarked image....  I like to share here on WxForum to open conversations about how to do it.  I love the phrase... "Live, Learn and Pass It On".... Uhmmm, I'm getting to be an old guy and it's time to share.  I have learned so much from this forum, it's payback time!   :lol:

Greg
 
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Offline kaymann

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 10:41:22 AM »
It's been forever since I was on FB so I love having WXF as my go to...
The pictures are sometimes beautiful and sometimes informative.
I come to WXF because they are both - Greg yours are always both!

Randall

Offline sacreyweather

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 10:47:03 AM »
Gorgeous shots, Greg!!!  Man that first pic is scary. Any idea how close that was?  Looks like no more than 300 yards away, tops.

John
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Offline GregJ

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 11:10:31 AM »
Hi John,
For perspective, my neighbors flag pole is about 80 feet from the camera.  The trees on the right of the image are less than 200 feet away.  Your 300 yards "tops" estimate is a pretty good guess.  Of course it sounded like it was 20 feet away.... :lol:

Greg
 
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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2018, 11:37:23 AM »
I'm wondering if there are those with more 'experience' with close strikes than I who may comment.  I had a very scary time during an old fashion midwestern frog strangler that happened when I was in late grade school.  I was the only one home in the afternoon when a nasty storm blew in, and while not gusty was full of spark and energy.  Our farm house was surrounded by old cottonwoods about 40-60 feet high.  There were repeated strikes close by (but we didn't loose any trees) and I literally went into the middle of our living room and squatted down, not knowing what else to do.  Most of the strikes were incredibly loud, one right after another for a couple minutes, but the really close ones had more of a sizzle and an sensation of sound and pressure rather than an explosion boom to a few of them.  The laundry was done immediately after the storm moved on.  No tornadoes, but just a short incredibly electrical storm.

On another event when my brother and I were in his International Scout going to a field it began to rain so hard that we had to pull off on the side of the road, just impossible to see the blacktop and no lines other than a center line which was obscured by blowing rain.  Our two way radio in the truck would begin with a high pitched squeal, rapidly decrease in frequency followed by a close strike that shook the little truck like being hit with a very strong gust, but it wasn't just the wind.  That happened a few times, and sure made us stay inside and with the windows rolled up, away from the doors as best we could.  The farm land was as flat as a table for miles in each direction, with only a trees in windrows, so we were the highest thing around for some distance, but our truck never got hit.  Just the 'warning' squeal from the radio. 

Maybe I've told the story before, but a neighbor had been out in his field with a tractor pulling a big disc (can't imagine a better ground to earth with all those metal blades dug in the ground) when his tractor (no cab on it) got nailed on the muffler sticking up.  Blew the tires out and while he wasn't injured, it knocked his pipe out of his mouth and stopped the tractor from running.  I think he did find the pipe after he got off.  It wasn't raining at the time, but sort of a bolt from the blue.  The odd thing now that I reflect on that, is his tractor was a diesel, with no electricity needed to keep it running, a mechanical fuel injector pump with a gravity feed fuel flow to the pump, so why it quit I have no idea.  I don't recall it affected his nerve too much and he continued once the tractor was fixed later on. 

My dad recalls being in the hay mow of a barn when a tornado went through, him seeing trees a short distance away being knocked over and twisted.  The barn or silo got nailed by a strike while he was cowering in the middle of the hay mow, and he said it was more of a feeling and sizzle rather than a loud noise, so I wonder if the expanding air hadn't gotten a chance to develop a wave front yet?

Does anyone know about really close strikes and if you can hear them or if you have to be a hundred feet away or more before the sound develops?

Dale
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Offline GregJ

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2018, 12:26:28 PM »
Great stories Dale....  I have one I'll add.  About 40 years ago I was fishing out front with a friend in my 14' Lund aluminum boat.  We really don't have a lot of lightning around here, so we aren't real "lightning smart"....  Especially when you are in your 20's... :oops:  The sky was getting real dark, but we weren't concerned....  There were fish to be caught.  All of a sudden it was like a bomb went off....  I saw the strike and honestly it was at most 50 feet away.  It was so loud, I was completely deaf and every hair on my body was standing on end.  Quite honestly I was in shock...  Until I realized that I was standing in an aluminum boat with a 9' mooching rod in my hand....(talk about a perfect ground)  As I remember, my body was tingling for quite some time after that and my hearing didn't come back for about an hour.  Needless to say, when we came to our senses we fired up the engine, laid down in the boat and ran it up on the beach....

Greg
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Offline kaymann

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2018, 09:30:29 PM »
Two from me - When I was 5 years old my siblings and myself were sleeping in the family popup trailer.  A lightning strike hit a tree about 20 feet away. I landed on the floor of the trailer and really had no idea what happened other than something really wrong just happened. We were lucky none of the large branches landed on the trailer. No one was hurt but our parents ran us in the house in fear of a second strike.

The second time on I was on day one of my first continental 48 state motorcycle trip in Montana. It was partly cloudy but nothing that me. A bolt of lightning hit a small irrigation pump house in a farm field under  75 yards away. My reaction to the strike (fueled by memories of my first near hit), nearly knocked me off my Gold Wing...
My plans included camping over a hundred miles down the road. I changed that to a stop at a very nearby hotel....

Offline rdsman

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2018, 01:15:41 PM »
Awesome pictures, Greg!   I have had several close encounters, having worked in electronics for almost 50 years.

When I was going to college, I worked for a local two-way radio company.  One of our customers was a VA hospital and we maintained all of their paging equipment.  Their paging transmitter was hit by lightning one night and the PA was destroyed.  I removed the PA and left them running on the exciter as a temporary fix.  About a week later I was in the equipment room on top of the hospital installing a new PA.  I was sitting cross-legged on the floor finishing up when I heard probably the loudest boom ever.  Before the sound had even gone away, a large ball of purple fire jumped out of the cabinet and landed in my lap.  I jumped up and ran out of the door.  I peeked back in and the ball of fire continued to run around the room for several seconds before it made a popping sound and disappeared.  I hadn't even connected the antenna to the station yet.  I checked everything and there was not any damage or any thing burnt, so I put transmitter back on the air.  I finished up and went home (it was quitting time anyway). 


After I got home, I discovered that the metal teeth on my zipper were melted together.  I didn't feel it at the time.  The strangest part about this was that it was sunny without a cloud in the sky....


   
Ray

Offline GregJ

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2018, 01:33:30 PM »
Quote
I discovered that the metal teeth on my zipper were melted together.

Now that is a VERY scary story....   ;) 

Greg
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Offline rdsman

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2018, 01:56:12 PM »
Quote
Now that is a VERY scary story....

That was actually my second encounter with a "Purple Ball of Fire".  I'll save that one for another time........

Ray

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 02:32:52 PM »
Ray,
Just how much power did you run on the paging transmitter??? Wow, more than the usual 100watts from the Motorolas we ran!

Just teasing.  Usually it is a direct hit or close by.  I was too small to remember, but both my older brothers were up during a storm at the same farm house as I have described.  All the telephones were common line, and ran on poles above ground.  We knew darned well to not be on or near the phone when a storm went through and usually at least once a summer the phone guy had to stop by and replace a couple of fuses that looked like giant pencils with metal swagged onto the ends.  Otherwise if one was out there was a terrible humming.  Anyway, the wire came to the house from the pole along the county road, and attached to an insulator which was held to the side of the house with a big nail, of course the pointy end into the wood.  A strike had occurred nearby while they were exiting their bedroom  which was off the living room, and with the flash and boom, right through the wall from where the insulator was on the outside, an electric blue ball about the size of a small watermelon or large cantaloupe appeared, slowly drifted down and bounced off the upright piano keyboard, onto the bench where it bounced again, hit the floor and started traveling slowly towards the entrance to the dining room.   Before it got there it made a gentle pop and disappeared.  No damage to the house, the phone worked the next morning and all seemed well.  While both my brothers have the reputation of being able to tell a good story, this wasn't the kind of exaggeration that they were prone to so my parents and the rest of us who didn't see it have their word that it happened. 

All I can say is I wait to hear your next story of blue glowing plasma, and am glad you didn't have Levi 501s on, or you'd still be welded in them.  Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase blue balls, doesn't it?

Dale
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 02:48:50 PM »
These stories are great/fascinating. I was in the jump seat once and we were skirting around t-storms, and I was seated just like the guy taking the pic here and got to witness this, not quite as spectacular, but incredibly beautiful to see.  http://imgproc.airliners.net/photos/airliners/4/3/6/1553634.jpg?v=v40

Offline ocala

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2018, 03:22:00 PM »
Quote
Now that is a VERY scary story....

That was actually my second encounter with a "Purple Ball of Fire".  I'll save that one for another time........
I was going to relate a story of being stuck in the Everglades during a storm but it's pale in comparison to  "Purple Ball of Fire".

Offline chief-david

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2018, 03:25:27 PM »
We had a phone line hit over a mile away and fried our wall mounted phone. Lucky it did not start the house on fire. 4 others lost their phone that night.
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Offline SLOweather

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2018, 03:35:33 PM »
Back when I was a lil squirt in Illinois (late 60s), we had just sat down to Sunday dinner when lightning struck a tall oak adjacent to the driveway. After the fact, there was bark all over the lawn, and you could see the surface track left by the bolt as it traveled down the tree and then circled around it almost 180 to ground out through the gas light by the driveway.

Anyone remember outdoor gas lights? We had 2 of them.

Offline rdsman

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2018, 03:45:39 PM »
Dale:

It was a 100 watt RCA transmitter.  The circuit board of the PA was completely vaporized - nothing left to repair.  The exciter put out 15 watts as I recall.  This was more than enough for In-house paging.

I was in my second year of electronics in high school.  I was just starting to work on a Heath Kit 0-200 vdc power supply that was dead.  I had the schematic laid out to one side and I was removing the top from the power supply.  Right as I was lifting the lid off, there was a big boom that rattled the entire building.  A big ball of fire appeared on my workbench.  I always assumed that it came out of the power supply, but who knows.  It went slowly across the schematic scorching it and causing it to smoke.  Then the ball fell on the floor and ran around the room until it finally hit a wall and went "Poof".  My teacher yelled "Ray unplug it".  I looked at him calmly and replied "It's not plugged in".  While the power plug was laying on the workbench directly in front of a receptacle on the power strip, it was a least 6 inches from it.  After that the power supply worked fine!

SLOweather:

Many years ago, I was the resident manager of an apartment complex that had outdoor gas lights everywhere.  I spent all of my spare time replacing the little "booties".

Ray

Offline chief-david

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2018, 04:26:54 PM »
We had one SLO.
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Offline SLOweather

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Re: Another Close Call....
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2018, 04:54:32 PM »
Last I knew, both of those were still in operation. The one by the driveway is a classic gas post lamp.