Originally posted by twhitehead
In Zambia, if you have a modem (the standard way in the past for getting email), then you must also have a line protector or you will loose your modem at the first thunder storm. Interestingly, here in Cape Town, although we get plenty of rain we get almost no thunder and lightening. I have heard thunder here about once every two years, whereas in Zambia it comes with every rain storm.
I spent four years in the US air force in Lincoln Nebraska (base long gone now) and they have the weirdest lightning I ever saw. I was standing at the door to our long barracks and there was a metal screen on the door. So I am standing there about an inch from touching it and damifi drew an electrical arc which takes about 20,000 volts.
The lightning there goes from cloud to cloud in a kind of sheet. Never saw sheet lightning before but it happens all the time there. It is also silent. Freaky looking. The voltage builds up tremendous charges in the air and that metal screen picked up some of it.
Kind of like Ben Franklin and his kit experiment except this was right at ground level. There was no obvious lightning going on when I got zapped but a few minutes later the sheet lightning started up, silent waves of light wiggling by from cloud to cloud. I would not have wanted to be in an aircraft in one of those storms and I seem to remember the planes at the air base being grounded for a while till it passed over.
We also had freaky ice storms too, in January, the weather got warmer, started raining, then the temperature dropped by 30 or 40 degrees and was still raining for a while but the ice built up about one inch thick over EVERYTHING, cars, grass, roadways, aircraft runways. It looked weird too, bubbly, that is to say if you could imagine a smooth icy surface but covered with half ping pong ball sized bits of ice everywhere. It was so slippery you couldn't even WALK on it much less drive. I saw one kid try to get his car out of the driveway and he couldn't move an inch much less actually get going somewhere. The base closed down for 2 days that time.
BTW, did you ever burn out the surge protector during a bad storm?