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Old 08-19-2014, 10:19 PM   #1
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Escape in Lightning

The monsoons have hit and it's popping outside. I'm currently in a house, but I've set through these big lightning storms before in a trailer and wondered if I were safe or not.

Any thoughts? Is a fiberglass trailer safer than a stick built trailer in lightning? And how about the Aliner types where you have basically just a metal shell around you? I've researched this some and never can get a definitive answer.

Any electrical engineer types out there?

Anyone have any good lightning stories to think about while I'm hunkered down here?
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:25 PM   #2
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I figure that lightning can do pretty much whatever it feels like. If you happen to be somewhere in the path of least resistance at the wrong time you're toast - but the odds are pretty long against ever being hit. One time we were canoeing when a huge lightning storm hit. We all debated if we were better off under the trees or out in the (shallow) river. We couldn't decide so just drank beer and waited it out.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:32 PM   #3
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Hey,

I only have anecdotal information as a Air Craft Structural Repair mechanic for the USAF for 23 years . Aircraft get struck all the time most of the time it is the metal parts and it is dissipated through the skin and static dischargers. However, occasionally it will leave a small hole or scorched area of fasteners etc. When it has it the fiberglass parts if it is a part designed with electrical discharge / bonding straps attached to the air frame. The fiberglass parts not bonded or having woven in dischargers did not fair well. If you check the news as of late lightening hitting vehicles seems to be happening more though there has been no injuries or deaths that I have heard.

See: Lightning strikes through new SUV's windshield at Brevard County dealership | News - Home



Perhaps if you are hooked up to electrical and no one has un done the way the outlets are wired from the factory the strike MIGHT be discharged to the power pole, if you have an EMS system you might want to query them on how it would handle a strike. If you are boon docking or connected to a generator that is not grounded I would guess damage would occur to the electrical system and generator etc.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:51 PM   #4
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Wow, crazy video.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:43 AM   #5
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Found this about lightning this morning:Lightning myths debunked: How to survive a thunderstorm if you’re stuck outside (VIDEO).
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:43 PM   #6
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In 2009, we were on our "big trip" to the east coast. We were stopped at a KOA in Embreeville, PA. That night there was a huge thunder/lightning storm. Being originally from the mid-west, we both love big thunder storms. We were sitting at the front window of our 17B with the 2009 Tacoma parked in front watching the show. All of a sudden there was a huge flash right in front of the Tacoma accompanied simultaneously by the loudest bang I've ever heard. It made our ears ring it was so loud.

When we recovered, Kathy said she thought she had left the sliding window in the Tacoma open and it was raining very hard. So, I left the 17, in my underwear, to go close the window. the plan was that when I got to the truck, Kathy would hit the keyless entry thingy to open the door. Here I am, standing in the pouring rain in my shorts, and the damn door won't open. I ran back to the 17, got the key and used it to open the door. When I got in, I could hear a buzzing sound, like a motor running. (By the way, the sliding window was indeed open and the interior was soaked). I tried the horn, it worked, the headlights, they worked, tried to start the truck, no joy. I traced the noise down to coming from under the hood. It turned out to be the windshield wiper motor. Since I couldn't shut it off, I got a wrench and disconnected the battery. Just as I was closing the hood, a fellow came running over from the other side of the campground as asked if we were alright. He thought we had been hit by the lightning bolt. Apparently, the lightning had hit about twenty feet in front of our truck.

Next morning, we re-evaluated our situation and wound up calling the local Toyota dealer to come get the truck. Following their analysis, it was determined that the lightning had taken out all eight computers. The Tacoma was DOA. We also found out that the lightning had fried all of the LED lights in the front half of the 17 and taken out the circuit boards in the furnace and the electrical monitor panel.

The Toyota dealer said they needed to have confirmation from ICBC, the provincial insurance company, that they would cover the cost of the repairs, which were substantial. We wound up dealing with ICBC for just about three weeks and in the end, they said they were writing off the truck. So, there we were, in Pennsylvania with no way to get home. Kinda scary.

End the end, we had to leave our truck in Pennsylvania. We rented a U-Haul truck that would pull the 17, loaded all of the stuff from our Tacoma into it and drove to my brother's place in Michigan. We were able to obtain a replacement vehicle, thanks to some very rigorous leg-work on the part of our local Toyota dealer. I had to go to Ontario to pick it up, drive back to Michigan to get the 17 and we then headed home to BC. Our three week trip to the east coast took us almost two months.

You know, you always want to go on a trip that you will remember. Well, this is one we will NEVER FORGET .

Doug
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:47 PM   #7
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Wow - I hope Tacoma's don't attract lightning! Glad you and Kathy were unhurt anyway.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:58 PM   #8
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Wow - I hope Tacoma's don't attract lightning! Glad you and Kathy were unhurt anyway.
I second that Hope Tacoma's don't attract lightning !!

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Old 08-20-2014, 01:00 PM   #9
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I remember as a kid riding in the back of our buick station wagon ( yes prior to wearing seat belts ) looking out the back window over the starcraft tent trailer we had during a bad storm in Cape Breton N.S. and hearing the loudest noise of my life and the biggest flash of lighting I have ever seen hit a tree right behind us. I just remember My Grand Mother who was driving just started praying.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:44 PM   #10
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Wow Doug, that is scary. The thought of you running around in your underwear, that is.
Sure glad you and Kathy were okay.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:46 PM   #11
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Doug, I'd say "make memories", but don't do that again.
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:36 PM   #12
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As long as we are telling lightning stories, my favorite was as kids the three of us (7, 5, & 3) were cowering in the living room during a storm as my mother said "Don't worry, it is only a storm" when there was a huge crash, and a 6" diameter ball of sizzling, snapping lightning popped through a window and floated around the room. Seemed like forever, but it was only a couple of seconds before it disappeared with a pop.

I'll never forget the look on mom's face!
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:50 PM   #13
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Holey Moley! Great stories. You don't mess with Mother Nature.
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:07 PM   #14
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Back in 1970 as newlyweds, Dave and I took a job as fire tower lookouts on the Nez Perce National Forest Selway Ranger District. We lived in a 14' by 14' 60 foot tower called Lookout Butte at the top of a 6000' mountain in Idaho. We spotted over 30 lightning caused fires that summer. We had lightning rods on all 4 corners of the tower and the copper was always shiny from being hit regularly. During lightning storms we had to stand on small stools that had glass insulators for legs. We also had glass insulators on the legs of our bed in case lightning hit while we were sleeping. By the way the propane refrigerator in the lookout worked perfectly. In 1990 we returned with our 3 kids and rented the lookout for 3 nights. Great experience and still for rent if your interested .
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:33 PM   #15
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Back in 1970 as newlyweds...Rita
What a great, great story (as are all of these)...thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:30 PM   #16
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Mine wasn't when we were camping, but I'll tell it anyway. Two summers ago there was a very severe thunderstorm right over our house. As I was standing on the front porch watching it rain and hail like it hadn't in years (the street was literally a river flowing with about 5" of water), i felt the air actually 'charge', followed by the most brilliant flash of light and loud bang I'd ever experienced. It almost knocked me down. There was smoke and a sizzling sound. I looked out and saw a huge oak tree across the street that was split in two about halfway down -- and smoldering.

Scared the bejezzus out of me.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:34 PM   #17
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Thanks Karen. We really enjoyed our time on the lookout. Saw some impressive lightning shows and a beautiful sunset every night.
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by NuthatchBC View Post
In 2009, we were on our "big trip" to the east coast. We were stopped at a KOA in Embreeville, PA. That night there was a huge thunder/lightning storm. Being originally from the mid-west, we both love big thunder storms. We were sitting at the front window of our 17B with the 2009 Tacoma parked in front watching the show. All of a sudden there was a huge flash right in front of the Tacoma accompanied simultaneously by the loudest bang I've ever heard. It made our ears ring it was so loud.

When we recovered, Kathy said she thought she had left the sliding window in the Tacoma open and it was raining very hard. So, I left the 17, in my underwear, to go close the window. the plan was that when I got to the truck, Kathy would hit the keyless entry thingy to open the door. Here I am, standing in the pouring rain in my shorts, and the damn door won't open. I ran back to the 17, got the key and used it to open the door. When I got in, I could hear a buzzing sound, like a motor running. (By the way, the sliding window was indeed open and the interior was soaked). I tried the horn, it worked, the headlights, they worked, tried to start the truck, no joy. I traced the noise down to coming from under the hood. It turned out to be the windshield wiper motor. Since I couldn't shut it off, I got a wrench and disconnected the battery. Just as I was closing the hood, a fellow came running over from the other side of the campground as asked if we were alright. He thought we had been hit by the lightning bolt. Apparently, the lightning had hit about twenty feet in front of our truck.

Next morning, we re-evaluated our situation and wound up calling the local Toyota dealer to come get the truck. Following their analysis, it was determined that the lightning had taken out all eight computers. The Tacoma was DOA. We also found out that the lightning had fried all of the LED lights in the front half of the 17 and taken out the circuit boards in the furnace and the electrical monitor panel.

The Toyota dealer said they needed to have confirmation from ICBC, the provincial insurance company, that they would cover the cost of the repairs, which were substantial. We wound up dealing with ICBC for just about three weeks and in the end, they said they were writing off the truck. So, there we were, in Pennsylvania with no way to get home. Kinda scary.

End the end, we had to leave our truck in Pennsylvania. We rented a U-Haul truck that would pull the 17, loaded all of the stuff from our Tacoma into it and drove to my brother's place in Michigan. We were able to obtain a replacement vehicle, thanks to some very rigorous leg-work on the part of our local Toyota dealer. I had to go to Ontario to pick it up, drive back to Michigan to get the 17 and we then headed home to BC. Our three week trip to the east coast took us almost two months.

You know, you always want to go on a trip that you will remember. Well, this is one we will NEVER FORGET .

Doug

Gee, glad you made it after all of that. Too bad you were stuck all of those weeks.

I would have expected insurance to have handled it and taken care of you. I know some insurance will even tow your trailer back home and some will give a replacement vehicle. Sometimes insurance covers hotels and expenses. You had the kind of mishap that few ever have, thank goodness, but you should not have had to go through so much trouble.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:08 AM   #19
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Gee, glad you made it after all of that. Too bad you were stuck all of those weeks.

I would have expected insurance to have handled it and taken care of you. I know some insurance will even tow your trailer back home and some will give a replacement vehicle. Sometimes insurance covers hotels and expenses. You had the kind of mishap that few ever have, thank goodness, but you should not have had to go through so much trouble.
One of the "joys" of having government mandatory insurance with no competition. You get it from them or you don't drive, full stop. They don't provide any customer service because they don't have to. Don't get me started......

Doug
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