It’s thundering outside my office right now and I’m fighting the urge to run about the office unplugging all the computers. I worked at a group of radio stations for four years and whenever there was a thunderstorm, any computer not directly related to broadcasting was turned off and unplugged. Our main station was weird in that the studio and office building sat right below the tower (most stations do not put the two together because the transmitter generates radiation). A big radio tower broadcasting a 50,000 watt signal is the ultimate lightning rod, and since our building was connected to it, all our stuff could easily get toasted. Funnily enough, it was actually the defunct tv station tower which sat in front of our building which got hit during my time working there, but the lightning did arc across our building and take out the board in our FM studio (and the dj working there got a bit singed). And for those of you who believe the old lightning never strikes twice adage, I’m sorry to say you are wrong. I watched lightning hit that tower and arc over in the same way two times in five minutes. In between a client called wanting us to play her spot for her. I told her, “Ma’am, we’re being hit by lightning right now. We’ll have to call you back later.” Of course, then we started getting flooded with the do-you-know-you’re-off-the-air phone calls. A little tip – if a station is off the air, EVERYONE working there knows about it. The traffic people (what I did) are looking at the paper logs to see how many spots they’re going to have to reschedule. The sales people are trying to figure out if their clients are the ones off the air. The on-air people are on the phone with the engineer trying to get it fixed. Silence alarms are going off. EVERYONE knows they’re off the air and the last thing they need is a bunch of yahoos calling to tell them that! 🙂
Running about unplugging things didn’t feel that strange to me when I started at the stations, because I grew up in cable tv’s early days. It didn’t come down the county road I lived on because there was a railroad track to cross and the cable company didn’t want to do that. We had a big tv antennae on our house and when there was a thunderstorm coming, we ran around unhooking all the tvs from it. I don’t recall that antennae ever getting hit when I lived there, but I do remember a neighbor’s tree getting hit. It was the loudest boom I’d ever heard (I was 8 or 9 and hadn’t stood by a canon at a Civil War reenactment yet).
My mother-in-law was terrified of thunderstorms and would insist on the whole family sleeping in their family room, which was half underground (they had a split-level house). My parents never seemed to worry about them much. I remember my father telling me that he worried more about blizzards than thunderstorms. Not surprisingly, my husband tends to be more nervous about storms than I am. Part of me kind of enjoys them. There’s an energy to them and if I’m in my house, I feel pretty safe. Unfortunately, one of our dogs is absolutely terrified of them. I expect when I get home later this afternoon I will find that she’s tried to crawl into one of the kitchen cupboards, or chew her way through the baby-gate I put across the hall to keep her out of the bedrooms while we’re at work. Poor baby.
What about you? Do you like storms, or do they make you nervous? Do you have any storm prep rituals you go through?