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Author Topic: Lightening and cows  (Read 5840 times)

Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Lightening and cows
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2016, 11:53:34 am »

I don't know where I saw it, but apparently that's a problem with big construction equipment that's been hit by lightning. You've seen those enormous earth movers with tires taller than you. Once they've been over-pressured by a lightning strike they can sit there like a time-bomb for days. So the next person who moves them can be in the blast zone of those tires exploding due to weakened structure. I'll see if I can find any pictures and post them later..

I posted a link to that issue in this thread.

Here's the link again for your convenience: https://www.bkt-tires.com/around-bkt/blog/post/tire-dangers-after-equipment-lightning-strike

It would be an issue for ANY rubber-tired vehicle that is struck by lightning, not just construction equipment. The volume of air in a car tire is much lower so the potential damage is much lower, but it seems to me that given the right conditions they could still fail catastrophically.

Maybe a .22 caliber long rifle round fired at a stricken tire would be a reasonable safety release -- could be administered from a distance. I haven't tested that theory, so don't assume it's a safe way to relieve pressure.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 11:58:22 am by Jonathan Johnson »
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Lightening and cows
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2016, 04:02:45 pm »

What would be something that a backpacker could carry to reduce the risk of injury? For the backcountry types it's either stay in the tent, or go outside and risk hypothermia from getting soaked with cold rain.
But whatever you do, take off your point hat!
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lightening and cows
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2016, 04:24:51 pm »

What would be something that a backpacker could carry to reduce the risk of injury? For the backcountry types it's either stay in the tent, or go outside and risk hypothermia from getting soaked with cold rain.

Here's a link to the National Lightning Safety Institute's page on personal safety in lightning storms: http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls.html

One thing that I know is that you don't want to be near something tall that can act as a lightning trigger. So being near the tallest trees are a bad idea. However, I'm wondering if being near a power pole with its grounding system might be an option. While you certainly don't want to be standing directly under a pole transformer (I've actually watched them blow up from lightning strikes), power poles generally have a top ground wire that's tied to all the other power pole grounds on the line. That's got to be a seriously good lightning current sink. What do you all think?  Yes, I know there's no power poles in the woods, so maybe standing under the shorter trees might be an option.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Lightening and cows
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2016, 10:44:23 pm »

Yes, they would be a serious ground sink-but lightning is so much more powerful than anything we normally work with I wonder if it would be enough-or just spread the gradient over a larger area?  Around here I get nervous because fences run for miles tied to t-posts.  That should ground the fence-but that feeder the cows were around was very well grounded as well.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Lightening and cows
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2016, 01:06:17 am »

Yes, they would be a serious ground sink-but lightning is so much more powerful than anything we normally work with I wonder if it would be enough-or just spread the gradient over a larger area?  Around here I get nervous because fences run for miles tied to t-posts.  That should ground the fence-but that feeder the cows were around was very well grounded as well.

The feeder may have been well-grounded, but the ground distribution was still over a concentrated area -- really, no different from a point ground such as a tree.

The common grounding through the grounded neutral conductor of the utility distribution system probably would provide some shunting of current from a direct lightning strike. However, the majority of the current likely would be to the nearest grounding electrode as that would be the path of least resistance. If the air around the conductor to that electrode becomes ionized, that also will be a current path. So you could still have a significant voltage gradient around the electrode, but it may not cover as large of an area. I wouldn't want to be standing anywhere near a power pole in a lightning storm.
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Re: Lightening and cows
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2016, 01:06:17 am »


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