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Tony Grist

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REAL Weather [Sep. 8th, 2004|09:22 am]
Tony Grist
I remember sitting in a car on a Kentucky hillside (the tyres will earth the power if a bolt hits us, right?) watching the lightning strikes get nearer and nearer as the storm swept up the valley towards us.

I remember rain in Philadelphia. The air pretty much displaced by water. The force of it and the roar of it.

I remember a huge thunderhead sailing over the fields (in Kentucky again) all lit up from inside by frequent lightning- like a citadel at war- and how I waited till it was almost directly overhead before I ran for the house.

This is prompted by jackiejj writing about hurricane Frances. Heigh-ho; we don't get weather like that in Britain.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cybersofa
2004-09-08 07:18 am (UTC)
My most amazing weather-related experience was being in a plane struck by lightning - Lufthansa, immediately after take-off, never the most comfortable moment of any flight. Normally they try and fly round storms, but this one must have been right at the end of the runway.

Boom! Flash! 200 men in suits thinking their last moment had arrived!

Next thing was the pilot on the intercom ... "Zose off you who haf ztudied Physics vill appreciate zat we are at zis moment inside a Faraday cage - ze charge must flow to ze outsite off ze aircraft ent kennot harm us ..."

Never before nor since have I been so grateful for a Physics lesson.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-09-08 12:33 pm (UTC)
So my wife was right about us being safe inside the car?

I now wish I'd paid more attention in Physics classes. Trouble is I just didn't understand what was going on- and I can't remember anyone taking the trouble to explain why it mattered.
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[User Picture]From: cybersofa
2004-09-08 01:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, another Faraday cage (assuming not rag-roofed). I think you were safe, tyres or no tyres.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-09-08 10:11 am (UTC)
You're right about the great storms--they can be exhiliarating.

I remember from my childhood years in Texas seeing huge thunderstorms rolling in from the prairie. The sky would get ominously dark and the wind would rise, and my brother and I loved it. We'd go out into the yard and toss a ball back and forth, knowing that soon the lightning and lashing rain and hail would soon be upon us and we'd have to dash into the house.

My dad, who grew up in Texas, said that when he was four years old (in 1919), his parents were driving home across the West Texas prairie near Lubbock when a sudden storm came upon them. Dad was asleep, but he heard his parents talking for years about the lightning that would strike the prairie and roll out in great balls all around them.


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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-09-08 12:32 pm (UTC)
Ball lightning- that must be a sight to see!

Our thunderstorms are few and far between and usually quite mild. A flash or two, some distant rumbling and it's all over.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-09-08 10:14 am (UTC)
(the tyres will earth the power if a bolt hits us, right?)

I've been wondering about this.

What if you have steel-belted radials (isn't that standard these days?) and the tires are wearing thin? What if the steel is exposed? Wouldn't it act as a ground?

I once worked with a man whose car was struck by lightning. He said he just saw a blue glow all around his hood for a second. No other effects. Guess his tires were new...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-09-08 12:27 pm (UTC)
Well, our car wasn't hit- even though it was standing exposed on top of a ridge- so I never got to find out.

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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2004-09-08 02:00 pm (UTC)
I second that. One thing I do miss living in Los Angeles is "real weather". Then again, being able to pull the "it's Christmas and we're eating outside on the patio" rabbit out of my hat partially makes up for that. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-09-08 03:37 pm (UTC)
Christmas on the patio- that sounds really nice.
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