We were at Pointe Santo de Sanibel, on West Gulf Drive, this afternoon. I noticed on the drive over, clouds seemed to be headed our way, from the mainland.
As we approached the end of a building; No-see-ums were already congregating to attack the first person to pass this way. And....that was us! Eeek! But, I had to go on, there was a photo op in the making.
As we stepped onto the beach, an Osprey flew over carrying a fish he was, no doubt, planning to have for dinner.
Looking straight out over the Gulf, I could see rain coming down.
Walking across the beach, I could hear thunder in the distance. The temperature was 93 and humidity 81%, the air felt thick enough to cut with a knife. Then I looked up to see a monster cloud. (I just noticed it looks like a big crab, looking down at those people. :)
After walking on the beach for just a short distance, the thunder was getting louder and there were streaks of lightning getting nearer.
There were still a lot of people out in the water fishing, looking for shells, or swimming. Not one of them seemed to be at all concerned about an approaching thunderstorm.
After checking around for shells and not seeing anything but broken pieces, we took a few pictures and began walking off the beach. Hearing thunder and lightning again, I turned to look, and there was the edge of the storm, very near. Still no one was making any effort to get out of the water or even looking at the threatening clouds.
My Momma told me, "If thunder roars, go indoors; nowhere outside is safe"! And indoors, is where I was heading! I also remember I am supposed to stay inside for 30minutes after the last clap of thunder. :)
Just a quick run past the trees, through the No-see-ums, and we were heading for home! It started raining just after we left. It rained less than an hour and we got around a 1/8th of an inch. Not much, considering all the noise.
I thought almost everyone knew how dangerous lightning is. But, maybe not!
There are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms, around the world, each year. In the US, Florida ranks first, with a 100 thunderstorm days annually. With that thought in mind, I think it could be beneficial for each of us to read these lightning safety precautions again. I know I read a couple of things that I had forgotten. And...no...it isn't because of old age. I think Momma just failed to stress those enough. :)
Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
Lightning Safety Tips for Inside the Home
•Avoid contact with corded phones
•Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
•Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.
•Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
•Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
•Postpone outdoor activities.
•Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
•Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
•Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
•Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
•Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
•Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
•Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
•Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
Avoid the following:
•Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
•Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.
•Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
•Anything metal; tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.