01 April 2009

Storm Jitters

We had a thunderstorm last night. It took me by surprise. When the first bolt of lightning flashed, I saw only a quick flash through a window, and started trying to figure out why someone was taking flash-pictures outside my house at nine o'clock in the evening. 5-10 seconds later, the thunder rolled in, and I felt rather silly.

Normally, I enjoy thunderstorms, but for some reason this one was making me nervous. I wasn't really sure why. However, the nervousness turned out to be somewhat justified. Just as I was getting ready for bed, a flash came. I automatically started counting under my breath, to see about how far away it was. I got as far as "one on—" before the thunder crashed around me. Call that half a second. 5 seconds is approximately one mile, so half a second would be roughly a tenth of a mile, or 500 feet. I didn't hear fire trucks any time in the next half hour or so, so presumably it didn't strike any flammable structures. Still, I was a bit jumpy for a while after that. The thunder actually rattled the house.

That's not the closest I've been to a lightning strike, though. Once my dad and I were at the Westwood Mall (probably at the sporting goods store that has since moved out), and as we were getting ready to leave, the lightning/thunder was breaking overhead in the parking lot. That was...unnerving. As far as we could tell, none of it was reaching the ground, but it was loud, with lots of static in the air, and probably not a particularly safe place to be. We made a dash for the pickup (which was, in retrospect, incredibly idiotic) and made it out safely.

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