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Local Sports

July 12, 2013

Lightning is beautiful but deadly, so be careful

As you all know, we’ve had an overabundance of rainfall this summer. And if it isn’t raining, the humidity has been intolerable at best. This leads the weatherman to remind us that there’s a 30-percent chance of thunderstorms every afternoon.

But there’s something special about thunderstorms — it’s the lightning. I recently wrote about the beauty of spider webs, but there’s something spectacular about lightning.

The other night as the storms roared through, Pat and I sat by a picture window and watched as Thor threw his lightning bolts from the heavens to the ground below. Our camper shook as the thunder echoed across the valley. Off to our right, a huge, brilliant, purple-colored bolt hit on the Marcy South Power Line. Sometimes, two or three flashes of lightning could be seen at the same time. It was as good as any Fourth of July fireworks.

When I was little, I loved to be out in the rain. As lightning flashed and the thunder roared, I’d run back onto the porch for protection.

One late afternoon in my early teens, I was bringing the cows down from the pasture on my horse. The lightning was so close and so intense that I got off and walked down the hill, afraid that I was the tallest object around.

Why you ask? Lightning may be beautiful, but it’s also very dangerous. A lot of people are struck and killed every year during lightning storms. Since I like hiking and climbing in the Adirondacks, I’m very wary of being caught on those bald summits in the High Peaks during a thunderstorm. That’s a perfect place to become a lightning rod.

Years ago, I was camping at Lake Colden when one of those summer storms came through like an out-of-control freight train. We watched as several lightning bolts hammered the top of Algonquin Mountain, New York’s second highest peak.

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