Posted by: dressmeister on Jul-11-11 8:31 PM (EST)
So when the lightening threads come up, I always tell people that I'm far more worried about slipping on a winning lottery ticket on a wet floor than I am about being hit by lightening.
This changed slightly the Sunday before Memorial Day, my wife and I were working on our rooftop garden (rubber roof) as a thunderstorm was approaching. Plenty of tall trees around, taller houses, etc.
It was already sprinkling so we were wearing our rubber boots and Gore-Tex.
"Not to worry," I told my wife.
Suddenly, the sound of Rice Krispies on steroids caught my attention. I turned towards my wife and saw blueish threads dancing from the garage-house power line towards the tree above (four or five feet from my wife).
A fraction of a second later, the blinding flash and the deafening boom of a lightening bolt struck in the neighbors' yard.
My wife dashed for the door (presumably for some new panties) while I pondered the event and slowly followed.
I relayed the funny anecdote to my downstairs neighbor / best friend / landlord who told me that as he was grilling burgers (free-range bison) standing on a treated lumber deck wearing leather flops, he felt the hair on his neck and head stand up (smart guy, not one to exaggerate). Meanwhile, we never felt a thing.
My anecdotal lesson: Due to the triboelectric effect, charges build up between the ground and sky. Eventually, the path of least resistance (variational calculus, here) rules. The PoLR is quite fickle
If ever caught in a storm again, I will stay in my boat, near shore, but not go ashore. I believe that being IN the water puts you in one of the paths of least resistance, but being slightly ABOVE the water, away from trees, decreases your risk.