My paralyzing fear of lightning and my parents lightning tree of death!

Here are some facts:

Florida is the lightning capital of the USA, not the world.  We are second in the world behind Rwanda.  And just to make things worse, the area of Central Florida, specifically between Tampa and Titusville is called Lightning Alley.

Here’s my story…

I grew up in Florida.  I was all to familiar with lightning and never gave it a second thought.  I knew the rules:

  • Just because it’s sunny out, doesn’t mean a storm isn’t brewing and it could still lightning before the storm even showed itself
  • If you hear thunder, then you have to get out of the pool/ocean
  • Sometimes, with severe storms, the a/c, TV and computers all have to be turned off
  • You know that however many Mississippi’s you can count between a lightning strike and thunder is approximately how many miles away the storm is  (Who came up with this system???)
  • And if your a driving during a storm, the car was the safest place to be because it was grounded by its rubber tires

A brief history with lightning before the big event!

The earliest that I can remember being afraid that I would get struck by lightning was when I was either in second or third grade.  My great-grandparents were supposed to be picking me up from school and I was waiting outside in a storm.  I was carrying my Dark Crystal old school metal lunch box and I can remember then being afraid of lightning striking me while holding a metal death box.

Next, when we moved into our new house (my parents still current home) there was one night where there was a crazy storm.  I was about 10 years old and couldn’t sleep.  (I guess my insomnia started early!)  I was watching the rain and wind from outside my bedroom window, when I saw a tee across the street from me get hit by lightning and catch on fire.

Also around that same age, there was a rumor going around my elementary school that lightning had struck through the window and the electrical sockets.  I don’t know if this is true, but still scary.

When I was in my 20s and my ex and I moved into a new house, the previous owners had told us that the house was struck by lightning before and sure enough, that house was struck two more times while I lived there.

Now, here’s the story of how I almost died.

I was visiting my parents for the weekend.  It was sunny out, but we knew that afternoon, Florida rain would be coming soon.  I was about to hop in the shower when I forgot something in my room.  My old bedroom was our old garage that was converted for me when my brother was born.  So, to get to my room, you had to walk through the kitchen and then step down into the laundry room and there was were the door to my room was.  As I was just stepping down into the laundry room, lightning struck the oak tree outside, which then hit the metal fence and that made the lightning bust all of the water pipes.  Lighting was shooting out of the water heater right were I was standing, bouncing off the dryer and flying everywhere. It also busted out of the electrical sockets in the kitchen.  Luckily, I was able to jump back up on the step in the laundry room because it was starting to leak electrically charged water.  I was also VERY lucky that I forgot something so that I wasn’t in the shower right when this happened!

I have renamed my parents oak tree The Lightning Tree of Death, because it has been hit my lightning two more times, the last one, hitting my mom’s truck knocking out all her electrical systems.

See The Lightning Tree of Death in the front?!

See The Lightning Tree of Death in the front?!

 

The dark part is where lightning hit it.

The dark part is where lightning hit it.

More lightning damage!

More lightning damage!

Again, lightning damage!

Again, lightning damage!

I can recall several times driving in horrible storms where I have freaked over all the lighting, going so far as pulling over under the overpass on the 408 because I just couldn’t drive in it anymore.

When I was in Italy, there was a day where it started lightning and I’m pretty sure no one has ran down 5 levels of scaffolding so fast.

The arch we restored and I was at the very top when the lightning started!

The arch we restored and I was at the very top when the lightning started!

 

And then there was incident last night.  While driving in a storm, lightning struck a transformer right as we were driving by and sparks were flying everywhere and hitting our care.

Moral of the story, if you are ever caught in a lightning storm with me, we will probably get struck!

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