Monthly Archives: January 2009

Q&A with Lightning Survivor: Andrea

Stumbling upon Facebook, I found Andrea Cummins. A thirty-one year old living in Cork, Ireland who loves lightning despite being struck twice in her life. Below is a quick Q&A between myself and Andrea.

Q: When were you struck by lightning and how old were you?
A: I’ve been hit twice, indirectly both times. The first time I was about 6. The second time was about 5 or 6 years back.

Q: What were you doing when you were struck by lightning?
A: The first time, there was no clouds, no rain, just lightning. I was on my bike when lightning hit right between the handlebars. The second time – My dad was on his way home from work and I was getting lunch ready for him. I was watching the lightning out the window as I was filling the kettle. Just as I turned on the tap, a bolt of lightning hit really close. It hit the water mains and threw me back a few feet. I ended up on my butt near the living room door.

Q: Was a storm broadcast for that day/evening/night?
A: There wasn’t a storm broadcast the first time. The storm was forecast for the late afternoon but decided to start early, the second time I was struck.

Q: Do you remember feeling anything that you can recall?
A: When I was struck on my bike, my arms felt like I had pins and needles and then started to get very hot. Used to get sharp pains in them for months afterward. When I struck in the kitchen, I felt the pins and needles again and my arm got really hot and started to burn. For days it looked like I had major sunburn on my right arm.

Q: If you had to pick one memorable occurrence of that day what would it be?
A: The most memorable thing from that time was sitting on the bike and watching the tires soften on the bike and seeing the handlebars turn black.
Q: Were you fearful of lightning prior to strike? Are you fearful of it now?
A: I wasn’t afraid of lightning before that and I love it still.

Q: People often underestimate lightning and do things that compromise their safety or the safety of others. What would you say to these people?
A: To those people who compromise their safety, I’d say, lightning is not something to be taken lightly, it’s very dangerous and can seriously injure and kill. Then again, I can’t really preach as when there is a storm, I’ll still go outside to watch it. Though I do have a healthy respect for it.

Are you a lightning strike survivor? If so, contact me to tell your story.

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Does Jewelry and Lightning Mix?

My best friend, Lee, who was struck and killed by lightning in July 2006, had a tendency to wear a thick silver chain around his neck at all times. The night of Lee’s passing he was wearing his silver chain while playing soccer when the lightning storm began.

Did Lee’s silver chain add to his chances of getting struck by lightning?

According to The Storm Highway Weather Library, small metal objects do not attract lightning.

It is a myth that wearing jewelry, metal cleats, and carrying metal objects, such as umbrellas, iPods, and golf clubs makes a person more susceptible to lightning strikes.

However, if a person is struck via a direct hit or a hit via a lightning jump, the metal in electronic devices (iPods, cameras, cellphones, etc), jewelry,  or even change in his/her pocket allows the lightning to flow through the body causing contact burns and strengthens the damage to the individual.

Bottom Line: No, it’s not safe to be outside with metal objects during a lightning storm; however, the metal objects are the least of your worries… it’s the lightning you have to fear.

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