Anyone ever been zapped by lightning?

If so, what did it feel like?

I only ask cuz there’s a storm a-brewin’ and it’s probably a smart idea to log off my PC before the lightning starts.


Yep- twice. Where do you think I got my username? :slight_smile:

The first time, it felt like getting hit on the top of the head with a two-by-four, and my feet really hurt. No injuries, but I was knocked down. A guy a hundred feet away was hurt worse than I was- he was using a powerdrill at the time, and was likely better grounded than I was at the time.

The second time, I honestly don’t remember much. I do remember seeing the electricity arc out around me on the surface of the water (I was kayaking at the time- during a thunderstorm. I never said I was very smart. :rolleyes: ). My inflatable kayak had a dime-sized hole burnt directly below me, on the bottom side, and I had to walk three miles to my take-out point in the storm.

Holy Crap! :eek:

Glad you’re OK.

I hear that some people are perpetually thirsty after they’ve been zapped.

Are ya thirsty a lot?



Hmm… that might explain my propensity for visiting the local pubs…


No, never really felt overly thirsty. Well, until I started taking the new decongestant a few months ago.

Wow! That question brought back a really old memory for me. I think i was hit, or at least had a really close call. I was running home from grade school, must have been about 7 or 8 at the time. Some how i got away from the teachers in a terrible thunderstorm and decided just to walk home, about 4 blocks away. Within a block, lightening hit right in front of me, maybe a foot or two, or maybe it hit me. This happened more that 45 years ago, so the memory is a little fuzzy. My mom told me years later i was sort of addled and confused for a couple of days, but had no lasting side effects. Apparently this is a family trait, since i had an uncle killed by lightening.

This is more of a survey sort of thing, so I’ll move it over to IMHO.

I was in a living room when lightening travelled down leaded windows, jumped to speaker cables, ran through them, and went BANG. I felt nothing, but almost certainly the lightening was zapping me and things all around.

As for logging off in a lightening storm, unplugging your computer and modem connection would be more to the point. Lightening doesn’t care whether you’ve provided the proper Internet password or not. If it was me, and I saw lightening hitting outside (as I did in the above case) I’d head for the lowest place in the house. Forget the computer. (Sorry, Uncle Bill.)

Do I have to unplug it, or will my surge protector suffice?

I’ve also heard you shouldn’t use a phone during a lightning storm…

It’s funny, when I was a kid everyone people would say, “Yeah, you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than [insert unlikely event].” I lived in LA, where we never have weather, so getting hit by lightning in LA really was unlikely, but when I reached adulthood and moved to other parts of the country I found out getting hit by lightning really isn’t that rare. I mean, here’s Lightnin’, who’s been hit by it twice.

In the meantime, I’ve met or heard of several more people who’ve been hit by lightning. I think it’s time they changed that old saying.

Once, indirectly. My younger brother was fooling around with a crystal radio and had strung this enormous antenna of copper wire the length of our yard and attached to our television aerial at one end. During a storm one evening I was in the kitchen along with brothers 1 and 2. A huge jolt ran from brother 2 to me and to brother 1 standing behind me. We figured out later that lightning must have hit the antenna outside and run into the house through the kitchen (the tv aerial pole was just outside the kitchen door). The copper wire was charred black. It scared the bejebus out of us and ticked off my Mom enormously because it also damaged the oven thermostat and an electric skillet. Younger brother experimented no more with radio either.

A very good friend of mine was killed by a lightning strike back in 1995. I don’t know how it felt, obviously, but I do know it knocked him straight out of his shoes and melted part of the frames on his sunglasses.

In a rather famous incident (well, here, anyway), Erik Jongbloed, son of former Dutch national football goalie Jan Jongbloed, was killed by a lightning strike whilst tending goal during a football match for DSW in 1984.

I was in a car that got hit once. A big flash of light, a loud bang - and that was it. At least, for the occupants: gotta love that Farraday cage! The car had a burned spot on the roof (needed to be re-sprayed), and most electric components were either fried or needed to be recalibrated (engine management and such). My father, who was driving, slowly parked it in contact with a light post. When the fender was about .5 meters away from the post, sparks already flew across! It was quite cool, being the 10 year old I was at the time. My mom was less amused!

Unplug it. A surge protector is only designed for handling fairly low-voltage fluxuations. A lightning strike will completely overwhelm a surge protector – basicially, all it will do is say “that way to the computer”. By the way, my Uncle in Florida once had his computer fried by a strike that hit their cable TV line – he had a cable modem.

I think this has been discussed here before. I believe the concensus was that there is a little danger in using a wire phone during an electrical storm, but injuries are very rare, due to the grounding included in the construction of phone lines.

Damn, Lightnin, that’s a hell of a story!

I was talking to a cowboy last week who mentioned his horse had been killed by lightning. He’d found it with all 4 horseshoes blown off.

A tree between my 2 neighbors was hit last year. Both of them lost their computers, TVs, security systems, garage door openers and automatic sprinklers. It was a split trunk pine and the strike left a heck of a rip all the way down one of the arms and the entire tree died shortly thereafter.

I think the single neighbor had been masturbating in his bed at the time. I wonder if God wanted him to stop?

My dad was indirectly hit once. I don’t know whether they still do, but the Canadian military used to use “field phones” that connected outposts via some type of metal wire. The kind you crank to have it ring on the other side.

Normally, the wire is laid out along the ground, but for some reason or another, at one point, they’d had to string it along some trees. My dad was talking to someone just as a storm was starting to brew and somewhere down the line, lightning hit. People later told me (I was in the same regiment and knew the guys who’d been working with him) that it was just a normal ho-hum telephone conversation when all of a sudden, he went flying across the tent backwards, hit the wall, and slid to the ground. He can’t remember a thing about it, but has no plans to repeat the experiment to see if he’d remember the next time…

I’m quite sure that something like that would produce some rather spectacular results, but I always wondered about the “flying across the tent” bit. Would that actually be possible?

oops… sorry… something was wrong w/ my last post, I had a story which was quite long after that quote. Oh well.

So now we don’t get to hear the story?? Even a summary?

I see whitetho beat me to the answer. Any electronic device must be unplugged to avoid lightning strikes. Phones are probably an exception, granted. (Hmm, maybe I could ground the PC in the phone jack.)

The big picture here seems to be: if you live in an area with lightning, get lightning rods, and make sure they really are grounds. Not every metal pole sticking in the ground is actually effective.

My house got struck by lightning a few years back. We had to get a new computer, dishwasher, washing machine/dryer, microwave, and pretty much everything electronic and all of the TVs and VCRs had to be replaced too. We had to get a new N64, because it somehow got damaged too.