Michael Rock Shares Lessons Learned After Lightning Strike
Well, it was quite the weekend at the Rock house.
As Saturday night's intense thunderstorm descended onto my neighborhood, the texts started to blow up my phone.
"We're getting some scary clouds out there," texted my wife.
"Dark sky!" texted my daughter.
I was helping a neighbor in town, just a couple of miles away. I looked up and saw what they were talking about, but shrugged it off.
There was a solitary bolt of lightning and a loud clap of thunder. Less than a minute later my wife sent this jarring message:
"OMG. Our house just got electrocuted."
She was standing with the glass slider open. The clouds were taking an ominous formation. She was calling the kids inside from the yard. The rain hadn't started, yet, she never heard the thunder, and she says she never saw the bolt of lightning.
The next thing she knew, she heard the loudest explosion she ever heard. She said the explosion lasted a good three to four seconds and that she was too surprised to be scared. Out of the sky fell a green object. The smell of smoke was in the air as the kids ran into the house as fast as they could.
Luckily, everyone was OK, but she wasn't sure what got hit.
My wife called me, clearly shaken up. I wasn't sure whether or not to call the fire department, but my friend suggested that I should. They came right out to the house.
It turns out, the lightning struck our irrigation system in the backyard. It blew the cover off of the electrical wiring that is buried in the backyard. It was blown so high it took seconds to land back on the lawn.
Inside the garage, the controller for the irrigation system blew up, and two breakers on our electrical panel got fried. The garage doors weren't working, the pool light was blown, and our mudroom didn't have power.
Some of the breakers on my next-door neighbor's house got blown. Even two houses away saw some lights get blown out.
The power of mother nature can be absolutely jaw-dropping.
An important lesson to know, though, is that you should absolutely call the fire department if you believe your house may have been hit by lightning. The firefighters walked through our home and used a thermal device that would indicate whether or not there was any fire hiding in the walls. They even called in the town electrician to assess the situation.
The most important lesson to learn, however, is that you can't wait until that first clap of thunder before you call the kids in. If our kids had been swimming in the pool or been on a different part of the lawn, we could have been looking at a tragedy. Normally, you're able to see and hear a storm moving towards you with distant thunder and lightning. Aside from the cloud formation, however, there was absolutely no warning that lightning was to strike.
We won't look at thunderstorms quite the same ever again.