Lightning strike, 911 call: Lew Turner's typical Sunday

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- In honor of National Lightning Safety Awareness week, I hope you'll indulge me in a little first person here during this story.

Not to be self indulgent or anything like that, but because my friggin' front yard, including my wife's car, got struck by lightning this week.

Seriously, set our 40 feet tall palm on fire from base to tip, and burned up the electrical system in her car.

It was all a part of what's become a really active pattern of afternoon thunderstorms, thousands of lightning strikes per hour in these systems.

Naturally, they're going to hit personal property from time-to-time, this time it was mine.

No injuries, no other damage than my tree and car.

And that's fine.

But this leads to the whole "Lightning Awareness" part of this diatribe: I've always been aware of lightning, but not that up close.

I happen to be looking outside out front window the exact moment the bolt hit the tree, ten feet from the window I was looking out.

That was my first lack of awareness.

"Get away from windows," First Coast News Meteorologist Tim Deegan told me when I asked him for tips.

We've heard them all before, but it's time to hash them out again.

"Don't touch anything electrical," he added.

Well, I didn't do that. I did pick up my cell phone and called 911.

Firefighters from St. Johns County were there in 60 seconds, and extinguished everything.

My neighbor also chipped in with his garden hose, kept things from getting much worse.

"Stay away from plumbing," Tim added.

Well, considering what the thunderclap from that bolt sounded like (think cannon fire from about 2 feet), I could have used some plumbing.

But I didn't. So, still doing pretty good safety wise.

Tim said on top of it all though, the number one thing is to get inside when you can hear thunder.

So other than the staring out the window at the moment of impact, we did pretty good.

And avoided any unnecessary injuries.

If you click the video above, you can actually hear part of my 911 call... overall I'd say there was very little panic, which is nice.

Thanks for reading, and please be safe out there. Lightning killed 140 people last year, which is more than tornadoes did.


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