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Thread: Thunderstorm prep

  1. #1

    Default Thunderstorm prep

    I was not sure where to post this, so if somebody knows a better place I can start one there.

    It's thunderstorm season in parts of America again. When you awake at 2am by a flash and boom at the same instant it kinda shakes things up. Of course 5 gallon buckets of rain are not unusual either.


    Just wondering what folks use as lighting surpressors on their electronics, or delays on things resuming during the power flickers that result and how do folks keep their animals calm.

    Years ago my unplugged tv was ruined by lightning zapping a cable tv line as it did not occur to unplug that too. We tend to just unplug things during thunderstorm season. It's a bit of a pain to do that but having items sharing 6 strip outlets makes it easier.

    My thermostat on the house has a one minute delay so that when the power flickers or returns the climate control system that has surge protection in various places won't suddenly or repeadetly quickly cycle. The 2 control boards and fan motor have fuse style surge surpressors in case lightning hits the electric wires.

    When the dogs get all aquiver we walk laps throughout the house. One had learned that when thunder rumbled he got hugs. Over time his fears got worse and worse. So to unlearn him from an airplane flying over means time to panic so hugs would result he now gentley nudges me and does like Lassie did. "Hey, it's storming again walk with me please". One formerly nervous dog hardly flinches in storms now. Another is a whole lot calmer now.

    For the buckets of rain, we keep the gutters clean by using a leaf blower with a 10' extension so the gutters can be cleaned from the ground about once a month. In the event a downspout gets clogged or partially during a storm there is a telescoping garden watering sprinkler tube with a 75 degree bend at the end and a steak knife duct taped to that to poke out the debris from the ground. That keeps the gutters from filling up with water and possibly backing up into the attic. Or the gutter nails popping loose and it from falling off the house.

    I'd be curious to see what tips and tricks others use to protect their possesions during thunderstorm season.
    John 3:16

  2. #2

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    I was not sure where to post this, so if somebody knows a better place I can start one there.

    It's thunderstorm season in parts of America again. When you awake at 2am by a flash and boom at the same instant it kinda shakes things up. Of course 5 gallon buckets of rain are not unusual either.


    Just wondering what folks use as lighting surpressors on their electronics, or delays on things resuming during the power flickers that result and how do folks keep their animals calm.

    Years ago my unplugged tv was ruined by lightning zapping a cable tv line as it did not occur to unplug that too. We tend to just unplug things during thunderstorm season. It's a bit of a pain to do that but having items sharing 6 strip outlets makes it easier.

    My thermostat on the house has a one minute delay so that when the power flickers or returns the climate control system that has surge protection in various places won't suddenly or repeadetly quickly cycle. The 2 control boards and fan motor have fuse style surge surpressors in case lightning hits the electric wires.

    When the dogs get all aquiver we walk laps throughout the house. One had learned that when thunder rumbled he got hugs. Over time his fears got worse and worse. So to unlearn him from an airplane flying over means time to panic so hugs would result he now gentley nudges me and does like Lassie did. "Hey, it's storming again walk with me please". One formerly nervous dog hardly flinches in storms now. Another is a whole lot calmer now.

    For the buckets of rain, we keep the gutters clean by using a leaf blower with a 10' extension so the gutters can be cleaned from the ground about once a month. In the event a downspout gets clogged or partially during a storm there is a telescoping garden watering sprinkler tube with a 75 degree bend at the end and a steak knife duct taped to that to poke out the debris from the ground. That keeps the gutters from filling up with water and possibly backing up into the attic. Or the gutter nails popping loose and it from falling off the house.

    I'd be curious to see what tips and tricks others use to protect their possesions during thunderstorm season.
    I just go out and watch the storms they relax me I’m a mess but I love storms long as no one gets hurt
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Whole house lightning protection comes to mind but I’ve never installed one. Also, during electrical storm, unplug electrical stuff is recommended. Surge protection is recomende, but they come in different ratings, so smaller cheaper ones are going to have lower ratings. I don’t have a lot of faith in surge protection, because what 2 miles of atmosphere can’t stop, how can a $15 device stop?
    Instructions say not to connect surge protection devices in serial, but I am so tempted to do so anyway. I am not an expert in this area. All I know is that volts is electrical pressure, and amps is electrical flow.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Good topic bykfixer.

    Our home computers are on UPS units that have surge protection built in. We've never lost one due to a thunderstorm. I've toyed with the idea of a whole house surge protector and might install one someday. Other electronics (TV set, radio, etc) are plugged into power strips with built in surge and RFI suppression.

    We have a rooftop antenna which usually stays disconnected as we have cable, I only use it when playing with my SDR receiver. The cable feed is properly grounded outside, however a direct hit would still likely fry it, A friend of mine had his whole internal splitter network go kablooey when lightning hit his cable drop. Fortunately we have other metal objects nearby that are more likely to get hit than us.

    I used to work around towers fairly often so I carried an AcuRite 02020 lightning detector with me to warn when a storm was approaching. Even though the towers and feed lines are heavily grounded, there's a voltage gradient in the ground surrounding them when they're hit so it's someplace you don't want to be during an approaching storm.

    On the other hand, I enjoy thunderstorms. There's a crackle in the air, both literally and figuratively, and the outdoors seems so clean and refreshed afterwards.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Quote Originally Posted by richbuff View Post
    I don’t have a lot of faith in surge protection, because what 2 miles of atmosphere can’t stop, how can a $15 device stop?
    It’s not. But that’s okay, since the plan was never to stop it in the first place. :-)

    There’s two ways to protect from lightning. The first is to isolate, but as you mention, if 2 miles of atmosphere can’t stop it, how could a little $15 plastic thing stop it? Well, it can’t. But it’s not trying to.

    The second way is to not stop it, but rather make it go somewhere else. And that’s the way these things work, they don’t try to stop it, they try to make the energy go to ground, rather than to your device.

    There’s a bit of things that can go very wrong here. What if you plug in a cheap surge protector, that’ll try to lead the energy to ground only, but you plug it into an ungrounded outlet? Well; that’s not going to be very effective.

    Another common mistake is to think that plug-in surge protectors is all you need, but they’re only supposed to be used to take off any remaining energy that gets past your primary protections.

    Also often overlooked; because the surge protectors try to deflect the energy to ground, you’ll wear and tear them when they do that. Eventually they’ll be unable to gate the energy to ground, and won’t be as effective anymore, if they work at all. In that sense, they’re more like the old school fuses that you needed to replace, than the newer resettable ones.

    If you want things done properly, get a whole house professionally installed as close to your intake as possible, typically your breaker box. This is a “coarser” or heavier one than the plug-in types. Then add plug-in protectors near things like expensive computers etc.

    If you own your home, I’d say it’s typically worth it. If you rent, and don’t plan to stay too long, it might not be worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by richbuff View Post
    Instructions say not to connect surge protection devices in serial, but I am so tempted to do so anyway. I am not an expert in this area. All I know is that volts is electrical pressure, and amps is electrical flow.
    You can plug them in serial if you want to. That’ll just put the protection components in parallel, which is what these things do internally in the first place. That said, I’d rather recommend people just get good quality ones, and retire and remove any that they don’t trust anymore.

    Fun fact: If you want to protect an expensive computer, do run it through the surge protector. But interestingly, the surge protector will offer some protection against other electronics on the same mains circuit as well, even things not connected through it, by reducing the voltage difference between live and neutral.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    All excellent points, terjee. Well said.

    Another way that surge protectors help is by absorbing the spikes that are created when the power goes out. When the commercial power suddenly disappears, the magnetic fields in the motors and step-down transformers of all of your electronics suddenly collapse, inducing a brief but giant spike, usually many times higher than the line voltage. This is the moment when your devices get fried by a power outage, not when the power comes back on. The surge protector in the power strip as well as a whole-house protector will absorb this and shunt it to neutral.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Aside from surge protectors...
    For every place I live in, I use fall for asking myself what I actually use mains electricity for.

    Some things are obvious, and applies to (virtually) everyone, like:
    - lights
    - information (‘net, radio)
    - communication (phones, radios for HAMs)
    - entertainment (TV...)

    But for a lot of people/places, there’s also:
    - space heating
    - cooking
    - water heating
    - water purification

    For each of the things I depend on, and that’s also important to me or family, I’ll use fall to at least think through where I’m at with substitutes. It doesn’t need to be 1:1, it can be making sure the kid has a few unread books, as substitute entertainment.

    Or put differently; I don’t care too much about protecting the TV, I care more about protecting the continuity of the function it provides, namely entertainment, which can be replaced by a book, at least long enough that we can replace the TV.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Strangely enough, I've never even thought about this. I say "strange" because I'm somewhat of a prepper in general. This should be something I consider. I do thoroughly enjoy lightning storms, however. I find them exhilarating and relaxing all in one. We lost power not long ago for 8 hours after a lightning storm took out trees and power lines. A flashaholics dream! Except, it was during the day. And it was 90 degrees with no AC. A flashaholic's nightmare.

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    I run my generator(s) every other month or so as part of a maintenance routine. We have a propane stove for cooking, so that's good. I'll put up a few extra cases of bottled water, new rotated to the back. Big tarp? Check. Run the saws and make sure chains are all sharp? Check. Stay on top of lawnmower gas use so the cans are all close to full? Check. I'll be checking back here to see what else everyone else does that I may have forgotten. 👍
    The TK20. Yes, it still rocks- WoodsWalker

  10. #10

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    I'm thinking surge protection for the fridge/freezer. One zzzzt zzzzt zzzzt could mean food is ruined by the time you replace it.

    Thoughts?
    John 3:16

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    I'm thinking surge protection for the fridge/freezer. One zzzzt zzzzt zzzzt could mean food is ruined by the time you replace it.

    Thoughts?
    The compressor motor itself is pretty rugged but the control electronics not so much. Make sure you get a suppressor that can handle the current draw from the fridge.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    I read that PW. Like my 1973 Frigidaire would not get damaged by lightning because it was a compressor, a fan and a light bulb. My modern GE with it's circuit boards telling it to perform certain tasks to ensure a frost free experience is apparently the vulnerable point(s). It seems refrigerator supressors are readily available these days.

    Now if only they made a quiver supressor for dogs afraid of lightning that actually works. I enjoy walking around a frightened dog at a sundown storm but at 2am would rather just be able to sleep knowing the dog isn't in panic mode.
    John 3:16

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Now if only they made a quiver supressor for dogs afraid of lightning that actually works. I enjoy walking around a frightened dog at a sundown storm but at 2am would rather just be able to sleep knowing the dog isn't in panic mode.
    Have you tried the thundershirt for your dog? It lightly compresses their body and essentially feels like a continuous hug. At worst it gives them something to think about besides the thunder.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    We tried that with the one who had it worst. He did not take to it well and was still a nervous wreck.

    I read up on why some dogs get nervous when he began having seizures when a jet plane flew over it was so bad. Taking laps throughout the house calms him down. I vary where we go so the laps are unpredictable. He follows me around all happy like now.

    The storm that prompted me to start this thread was our first this year and took place at about 2am and he nervous but was way calmer than last years storms. He woke me up but after one lap he went and layed down in his night time spot and he was ok. Basically I read that dogs learn hugs to a nervous dog are like a reward so the more I'd "reward" mine the worse he got. Kinda like that Pavlovs dog thing. So the idea was to occupy his mind during storms. And during winter I played thunderstorm sounds at low volume while I was not home so that he'd get used to that. The combo seems to be working with this one.
    John 3:16

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Glad to see that the desensitizing and distractions worked.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    So far so good……

    Next on the list is prep the fridge for lightning.
    I am considering a ground at the incoming electric line with a rod deep enough to read 7 ohms or less. A setup similar to how bridges with sidewalks are grounded where a #4 (edit, correct #8 to #4 bar) bar of solid copper is driven into the ground until X ohms or less is read (usually 8-10' deep) and an 8 guage copper wire is fastened between a handrail and ground rod. Theoretically lightning should ground out at that rod before it enters the home if the electric line is struck.

    It is the only cable that enters our house. No phone or cable tv is hooked to our house.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 06-10-2020 at 03:50 AM.
    John 3:16

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Wonder how may you prepare to this:




    Happened on Saturday in Lithuania. Good that only a small area has been affected.
    Last edited by vadimax; 06-09-2020 at 10:35 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Buy good insurance and wear a helmet……
    John 3:16

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Oh goodness! Until Mike said "helmet" I hadn't realised that they were hailstones.
    I guess one of those could kill you if it hit in the right place.
    Outrageous!
    P
    "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy.

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    I have zero faith that the little MOV surge strips will do anything in a direct lightning strike. I don't know anything about devices that are supposed to. I pretty much unplug my computers and TV by pulling every cable from them (figuring I need more of a gap than inside a power strip). I have never had a direct hit, but figure I'll have a lot of toasted devices anyway. A co-worker had a direct hit, he was a ham radio guy with a big antenna. He lost a lot electrical stuff in his home.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    One afternoon when I was a little kid my dad got up from the supper table to go roll up the windows of the family car during a thunderstorm. Both my parents smoked cigarettes. A few minutes later he had not returned. My mom said for me to go see where my dad was.
    "go check on your father". "yes mam".
    "well did do see your father?" "yes mam he's outside laying on the ground smoking".
    "why would he be laying down in a thunderstorm?" see says. "I don't know mom but he is and there's smoke coming from him"………
    He'd been hit by lightning.

    So we always unplugged the tv and all radios back then.
    John 3:16

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Wow! Your dad got hit by lightning? Did he survive?

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Daaaaang... Traumatic at best for you! Hope he was ok...
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Yes he was fine. My pop was tough. When he came to he was pissed the inside of the car got wet.
    His shirt had a rip in it and his hip had a burned place the doctor said probably came from the lightning leaving him. He said he grabbed the door handle of the car and "bam!"

    My mom and he would hear thunder and go around unplugging stuff. They used to say "never talk on the phone in a thunder storm" "aunt so n so was killed when lightning hit the wires". See, back then phones had cords and if lightning hit the wires outside you could get zapped pretty good. They also said never take a shower in a thunderstorm. Often times folks would ground phone cable, a tv antenna or cable tv to an outside spigot so bathing in a storm according to my parents could result in a shocking experience.

    We'd ask "mom what is thunder from" and she'd say "it's the devil beating his wife". My dad would say "pfft, no it's her hitting him back" lol.
    John 3:16

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* vadimax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Buy good insurance and wear a helmet……
    Locals are worried mostly of crops destroyed. Damaged vehicle is kind of 5000€ to repair, obliterated fields — some 50000€ of work and investments lost.
    Last edited by vadimax; 06-10-2020 at 11:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    One afternoon when I was a little kid my dad got up from the supper table to go roll up the windows of the family car during a thunderstorm. Both my parents smoked cigarettes. A few minutes later he had not returned. My mom said for me to go see where my dad was.
    "go check on your father". "yes mam".
    "well did do see your father?" "yes mam he's outside laying on the ground smoking".
    "why would he be laying down in a thunderstorm?" see says. "I don't know mom but he is and there's smoke coming from him"………
    He'd been hit by lightning.

    So we always unplugged the tv and all radios back then.
    Have a guy I know, a weatherman, that got struck. Blew most of his clothes off. Apparently the electricity turns the water on the skin to steam, which generates a huge pressure wave. He woke mostly naked, eardrums blown out, and CNS so scrambled he could not walk. He had to crawl/drag himself to his vehicle. He has the Lichtenburg marks down his torso.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    A few year back a car club I was in was building a super-duper Honda Prelude with parts donated by club members across the country. I had a real nice car cover I bought from a fellow in Oklahoma who said it had saved his car a few times in hail storms. I offered to donate it to the project and did.
    The car was nearly completed and had just been painted with a special paint when a hail storm happened one afternoon. Because the paint was fresh the two guys building it did not want to put a cover over it. After the storm was over the body looked like a giant golf ball. So many dents it was hard to believe. The special parts were removed and sent back to the donors and the car ended up going to the junkyard.

    Cover Craft makes a hail proof cover custom shaped to the vehicle. Probably nothing could protect against what Vadi showed though. Mine has been pelted with thumb sized hail a few times and the Cover Craft cover has kept it dent free. About $300 but worth it.
    John 3:16

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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Glad Pops was ok! We had big boomers roll through last night, tons of rain. No sleep, the big pup hates thunder and wanders the house whimpering. (She's 152 lbs.) And so much for the 50 lbs of grass seed I put down yesterday. Oh well. I was actually thinking of this thread when I couldn't sleep.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    152 pounds? Good gosh man……

    Probably like your pop Scout, mine was cut from a different breed of cloth. That really tough kind. Grew up in the Great Depression. Fought in Korea and all that.

    We dodged storms all day today. Big ole blob of red and yellow would be headed our way and disintigrate at about the town limits. So I suppose the dogs naps were not interupted with panic by thunder. I did enjoy the almost steady breeze all day though.
    John 3:16

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Thunderstorm prep

    Check out this site: real-time lightning strike maps from crowdsourced lightning detectors located around the world.

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