Lightning Sets Two Lubbock Houses Ablaze this Weekend - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/10/04

Lightning Sets Two Lubbock Houses Ablaze this Weekend

"We're very lucky, people's houses burn down completely, we're very lucky," says Clint Ramsey, a 20 year Lubbock homeowner. Clint is counting his blessings after a close encounter with mother nature. "Never had a dealing with lightning before."

Clint was standing outside his back-door when it happened in a flash. "There were two real loud claps of thunder and real bright flashes of light one right after the other," says Clint.

A gaping hole under the eave is where Lubbock fire officials say the bolt of lightning entered. Instantly, sparking a fire in the attic. 

"My wife said let's get the cars out. I got the cat and called 9-1-1," says Clint. 

"Lightning is the most underated weather hazard," says Justin Weaver, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service. 

He says the Ramseys were lucky. "Lightning kills 100 people and injures 500 more each year," says Weaver.

That's more than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. And Weaver says West Texas storms are on average far more electrifying. "I think the peak lighning strikes we saw on our systems here were about 1200 strikes in a 15 minute period which turns out to be about 80 per minute so they're bound to hit pretty much anything in their path."

In fact Weaver says lighning can be up to 10 times hotter than the sun and will burn anything in its line of fire. "There's blankets, quilts, sets of dishes," says Clint.

Among the rubble left by the lightning, items both replaceable and remembered.

"Alot of things of sentimental value old pictutres and a yearbook from my freshman year in high school sitting over there and we found some wedding pictures," says Clint.

The national weather service has some recommendations to keep you safe during any severe storm.

  • Stay indoors.
  • Keep away from windows.
  • Stay off corded telephones, cordless phones are safe.

A good rule of thumb is the 30-30 rule. If youi see lighning and hear thunder before you count to 30, you should stay inside because lighning can strike up to 50 miles away from a thunderstorm.

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