Saturday, July 30, 2011

Storm Wisdom

I have a small Boston Terrier who is absolutely terrified of thunder. I always know when a storm is coming about fifteen minutes before it arrives, because he begins to shake and tremble. The next thing he does is head for either the kitchen, which has no windows, or the bathroom. He is definitely smarter than most humans.

This Summer when I was at the beach, there were numerous thunderstorms. I was always appalled to see people not only staying on the beach, but playing in the water! Last year while were were at Okaloosa Island, a family of four were stuck by lightning while sitting in beach chairs. Fortunately, although the Father stopped breathing for a while (his teenaged son gave him CPR), they all recovered after only a night in the hospital. Most of the time victims of lightning are not so lucky.
My sister in Maryland had a friend killed by lightning last Summer while attending a local picnic. Believe me..lightning is deadly.

I have always taught my children if you HEAR thunder...come inside immediately! As I said previously, I find it amazing that so many totally ignore an approaching storm at the beach. This Summer, the lifeguard stations even sounded alarms to clear the beach, and many did not do so until a bolt of lightning struck extremely close to the beach. These aren't children I am talking about, but parents with small children walking along the beach and watching the approaching storm! Okay, if you want to kill yourself have at it, but please leave the kids at home!

I once had a neighbor who was terribly afraid of storms. She would run around the house unplugging everything, but then she would jump into the tub and take a shower during the worst of the storm! Lightning can strike the pipes in your home and come right on in and strike you. Lightning can strike your wiring and come in through the top of your electric cooking during a storm! Lightning can come in through your television and become a fireball that travels through your home destroying everything in its path. Lightning is dangerous.

When you are outside during an approaching storm you need to seek immediate shelter. However, there are a few places that may seem sheltering which are not. Any small building with no sides, like a gazebo, is NOT shelter, but may actually draw the lightning to you. No trees...even if you are walking close to a tree, lightning may hit the tree and travel through its branches and jump off and get you. If you feel something like your "hair standing on end" it means a lightning strike is imminent...crouch down as low to the ground as you can and tuck your head down...after the strike passes, proceed to your nearest available shelter. A car is shelter, but you MUST NOT BE TOUCHING any metal part like the door handles etc., as what happens is the lightning travels through the car and around it before going to ground. A motorcycle is not shelter...neither is a bike.

I used to sail quite frequently in the ocean, and you can see for miles and miles out there. Let me tell you this, lightning can strike many miles out in front of the storm from which is proceeds. If you can hear thunder you are in danger!

Teach your children to wait at least 30 minutes after they hear the last thunder to return outdoors. Stay Safe and have a great Sumer!

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