When I got back from the National Association of County Agriculture Agents National Conference, I was greeted at the airport by my wife and bad news. After greeting me she proceeded to tell me that lightning had struck our irrigation clock and our valves. The lightning caused our pipe to burst at the valve. I believe it struck the solenoid at the valve and traveled back to the clock. The charge then proceeded to blow apart the clock and traveled back to the power strip and blow that apart. The charge then tripped the breaker. The charge also fried the brains of another clock nearby and charred the wall where they were mounted. So instead of catching up with my family I spent the evening repairing the damage.

With this event fresh in mind, I figured it would be a good time to do a blog post on lightning and its effects. Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. and it's probably good to refresh ourselves on the hazards of working outdoors in the rainy season in Florida. Here's a link to an IFAS document on lightning. http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/families_and_consumers/lightning_safety.html

This page has some basic information on lightning. It also has a section on what to do in emergencies where someone has been struck. This might be a good read considering the amount of time that nursery producers and fieldworkers spend in the outdoors.

I learned one lesson from this event. Make sure not to store any flammable material near a potential route for lightning to travel. I am glad that I did not have anything that could have caught fire next to where the clocks were. I could see from the char marks on the wall that if there was something flammable nearby it definitely would've caught. Below is a picture of the powerstrip that got blown in half. I am still looking for the remaining parts of the irrigation controller.

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