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Old 05-23-2020, 10:51 AM
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Default Lightening destroys a patrol car

I have always heard that you are safe inside a car during a lightening storm because the lightening will travel around the surface of the vehicle and then go to ground. I donít believe that anymore.

Yesterday morning two Tinker AFB security personnel were patrolling the base during a thunderstorm when a bolt of lightening hit their vehicle. They said that when the vehicle was struck the metal began sparking and crackling. They were able to get out before it burst into flames. The patrol officers were unhurt and they were able to get their weapons and ammo out of the truck before it was destroyed.





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Old 05-23-2020, 10:57 AM
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WOW, I bet there was some very soiled underwear involved with the security personnel that were in that truck!!!!

I had never heard of lightning taking out a vehicle like that.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:01 AM
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:08 AM
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Local LEO vehicles have a grounding strap attached underneath. I suspect they are there in case downed power lines come in contact with the vehicle. I wonder if it would have helped in this case. Probably not.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:25 AM
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That’ll buff out.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:27 AM
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They weren't electrocuted by the lightning strike. I guess that's the point.

In my hometown, lightning once struck a vacant car parked in a concrete driveway. It blew out all four tires. Pretty cool!
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:34 AM
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My old agency has lost a few patrol cars to lightening over the years. We use to have low band frequency radios and the old 4-5 foot tall whip antennas. Lightening usually got the antennas, then the radios and then the rest of the electronics in the car.

Along the same lines. I was directing traffic at a crash scene one afternoon in the middle of a frog drowning thunderstorm, in the middle of no where, being the tallest thing around, with lightening everywhere. I realized I was standing out in that storm, directing traffic with an old 5D cell Aluminum Maglight, standing in running water and thinking this isn't very smart.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinglebob View Post
I have always heard that you are safe inside a car during a lightening storm because the lightening will travel around the surface of the vehicle and then go to ground. I donít believe that anymore.

Yesterday morning two Tinker AFB security personnel were patrolling the base during a thunderstorm when a bolt of lightening hit their vehicle. They said that when the vehicle was struck the metal began sparking and crackling. They were able to get out before it burst into flames. The patrol officers were unhurt and they were able to get their weapons and ammo out of the truck before it was destroyed.
I live and made a career of the fire service in the "Lightning Capital of the US" - Central Florida. During one of our frequent afternoon thunderstorms in a popular tourist area I pulled up next to a group of three tourists all walking down the street with umbrellas. Somehow, they were surprised to learn that walking around in a storm with frequent lightning while holding a rod vertically over their heads wasn't safe!
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:23 PM
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Default Vehicle Grounding

I seem to recall a time when some vehicles had a ground-lead that was in constant contact between the chassis and pavement. Depending on atmospheric conditions, cars can hold a heck of a static charge. During those times, I learned to first grip the ignition key and touch it to the door handle before touching the car. Key would emit a lengthy spark and sometimes sounded like a .22 short.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:47 PM
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I seem to recall a time when some vehicles had a ground-lead that was in constant contact between the chassis and pavement. Depending on atmospheric conditions, cars can hold a heck of a static charge. During those times, I learned to first grip the ignition key and touch it to the door handle before touching the car. Key would emit a lengthy spark and sometimes sounded like a .22 short.
This came about due to the increased use of "low rolling resistance" tires, which while they were good for fuel economy weren't particular good for discharging static electricity to ground (or for lateral grip on corners). The hanging ground strap was a cheap way to try to fix this issue - and try to prevent unexpected explosions at the gas pump - until the tire companies could reformulate their compound.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:02 PM
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Good advice there on the fender.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:13 PM
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I was once parked about 50 yards from a pole transformer when it blew, that was very impressive.
Another time myself and an other officer in one man cars had to check an alarm in an ice storm. Steve pulled up first and I parked next to him, cars facing opposite directions. We checked the building, all secure, and stood between the scout cars talking for a few seconds as the freezing rain came down. As soon as we got in our cars and I started mine up, I saw a car coming south on the street loose control and hit a utility pole. Bam, down comes the pole and the live wire came down dancing right in front of my scout car with the brightest light. It was bouncing, arcing and whipping around our scout cars as we both tried to get away in opposite directions. It sounded like someone was whipping the car with a rubber hose. Finally got traction on the ice and we both stopped by the accident vehicle. No one was injured. Only damage was some burn marks that looked like some one brushed an arc welder on the cars in spots and black rubber stripes on my scout car roof, hood and trunk. Good thing we didn't stand there talking twice as long.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:13 PM
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I was eating lunch in a work truck (1995 S-10) with the radio on waiting for Paul Harvey noon news. Lightning struck a tree across the lot from me. The truck died, but started back up, when I tried. But the radio never would pick up that station again!

Ivan
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:26 PM
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I was on a oil drilling rig in the bad lands of North Dakota when it got hit by lighting. I go really really bright and load there for a split second
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:20 PM
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I was on a floating fishing dock many years ago that was struck. Loud, bright, and VERY scary. There were four of us on the dock. No one was injured, but we all left in a hurry. Twenty-odd years later the wife and I were lying in bed one Sunday morning when we heard a loud boom and felt the house shake. I looked out the window and didn't see anything amiss, so we went back to sleep. A couple hours later I left the house and noticed firetrucks in the alley at the end of the block. The lightning had struck an apartment building at the end of the block. There was a charred gaping hole in the roof where it had been struck, and a crew was busy stretching a tarp to cover the hole, Fortunately no one was injured that time, either.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:32 PM
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I wonder if that was one of those Ford aluminum pickups, and if so, whether that had anything to do its reaction to the lightning strike.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:35 PM
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I've talked to roofers about putting lighting rods on a house roof to prevent a fire and they say they probably wouldn't help. Nearly all the houses are brick and as they lay brick they have thin steel brick ties that attach every few feet from the mortar joints to the wood stud framing to hold the brick walls. When lightning strikes a brick wall it puts so many volts and amps through these small brick ties they glow red and catch the wood framing on fire.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:01 AM
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In the 1970's, I was in a patrol vehicle that was hit by lightning. It hit the radio antenna and fried the entire electrical system, radio and emergency equipment. One young physically fit cop, me, and one old fat cop exited the vehicle safely on the run. Bad part we were headed to central to get off and had to wait 2 hours for a department wrecker to haul us in.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:18 AM
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Was Lou Christie driving?
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:37 AM
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I quit coffee a couple years ago, but that would have made it shoot out my nose!
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:54 AM
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Was Lou Christie driving?
"Light--ning strik--ing aga-in,
Lignt--ning strik-- again and again and again and again."

I saw Lou Christie live in concert at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and the Great Frederick Fair in Frederick, MD. He could really put on a show.
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Old 05-24-2020, 11:54 AM
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I have taken a lightening strike while driving in an SUV, while flying a Cessna aircraft, and while running to shelter during a thunderstorm (the running strike must not have hit me directly; it did knock me head over heels.

The two lightening strikes I took while in vehicles resulted in a really loud boom, and a really bright light, some fear, and that was all. Obviously, in the vehicles, I was not grounded. The vehicles probable acted as a Faraday cage, and kept the electricity away from me. The hair on my arms stood up, and I felt a small electrical tinge in my left arm (in each case, resting on the arm rest), kind of like the slight tinge one would feel when touching a 9v battery to the tongue as a primitive form of battery tester.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:18 PM
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I bet that lightning did lighten their load.

When I was an Air Force medic, we had some people come in for direct strikes, once while playing softball in South Carolina, and two different times while fishing in mountain lakes in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Even the ones that survived didn't feel all that spiffy. It was interesting looking for the exit, because if it comes in, it's gotta go out.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
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I bet that lightning did lighten their load.

When I was an Air Force medic, we had some people come in for direct strikes, once while playing softball in South Carolina...
Just curious, was that Shaw?
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