Week 96 | September 11, 2014
It is always a pleasure to have guest-bloggers, especially when they are former co-workers. Cheryl Cwelich worked with Lightning Eliminators for over 12 years before embarking on her new adventure. However, before opening her new company Substratum this fall specializing in social media marketing and communication, she took a road trip. Over the summer she drove through parts of the United States including the Mountain Region, North Midwest and Southern Midwest. Of course, having worked for and with lightning-geeks for years, lightning was surely on her mind, and fortunately she saw plenty of it. She was kind enough to write her observations down for us, so that we could share them with you.
The windshield wipers beat rapidly at the pouring rain. Visibility was poor, if it was there it all. Everything outside the windows was nothing more than a watery blur. My knuckles tightened around the steering wheel in a worried white. Of all automobile crashes, 23% are weather-related. My brain brightly conjured up the many different varieties of a weather-related car crash: hydroplaning into a retaining wall or another car, plowing into an object I could not presently see, missing a stoplight or brake lights, etc. It was time to stop ruminating on disaster-only scenarios and pull over to wait the storm out, rather than push through and hope that nothing bad would happen.
White, jagged light flashed, striking down not more than a few hundred feet away. As it happened, I could feel the buzz of electrical current around me. Even my car jerked from the impact and surge of electricity in the air. My heart was pounding in my head, along with a thousand questions: “Did my car get struck? Is my dog okay? Am I okay?” I patted my hair for some reason; out of some remembered detail that when lightning is close, it makes your hair stand up. My hair seemed fine, but my nerves were standing up on end. Pulling over, I stopped to check my vehicle and to let my heartbeat calm down, along with the rain.
This was just one of a few extreme storms that I had encountered on my road trip across the West. However, this one in Montana was definitely one of the scariest. The storms in Texas had been particularly nasty too, lots of fast, hard-hitting rain and rapid, intense bursts of lightning. In fact, Texas is considered one of the stormiest places in the U.S., with 65 storm days a year. That is over two months worth of thunderstorms in a year.
What makes this data even more interesting, or unnerving rather, is just how many oil tanks, oil derricks and drills there are across the state of Texas. As I drove south from Amarillo, TX to Midland, TX, there were the usual long fields of corn and cotton, and dotted across each of them, oil derrick after oil derrick. As I got closer to Midland, there were long fields of oil tanks, each holding approximately 2,000,000 litres or 528,344 gallons of oil. Currently, Texas is pumping enough oil that if it were a country it would rank 15th as a oil producer.
As I continue my journey across the U.S., through thunderstorms, cornfields and oilfields, I am very aware of the risks I take, but I am ready. I know what to do. When lightning is threatening to strike, I will find the lowest point, get down on the ground, cover my head, and if in my car during a storm, I will be sure not to touch anything metallic. But what about all those oil tanks? Are they just going to take a chance? Are they just going to stay exposed and hope nothing bad will happen?
If you have any questions or need further information from Cheryl Cwelich please feel free to email her at Cheryl@substratumsolutions.com
If you have any lightning stories you would like to share with us, positive or negative and/or if you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to contact me at LightningDiva@lecglobal.com
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