1 in a Million

According to Weather.gov, the odds of being struck by lightening in a given year is 1 in 1,222,000. This morning one of our neighbors power transformer became a statistic. You may have heard it around around 7:13 AM this morning. My workday had already started, I was at my desk getting ready for the day. It had been storming all morning, but this lightning strike shook the house and was very loud. Started texting with some of the neighbors and learned that only some homes lost power, 7 to be exact if I recall correctly. NEMEPA was notified and in less than an hour the first lineman arrived and started replacing the tripped fuses to the transformers.

A few of us neighbors greeted each other around where the lightning struck occurred and noticed debris from the pole extended approximately 50 – 75 feet from the pole. That’s a lot of energy! According to National Geographic:

Lightning is a giant discharge of electricity accompanied by a brilliant flash of light and a loud crack of thunder. The spark can reach over five miles (eight kilometers) in length, raise the temperature of the air by as much as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,700 degrees Celsius), and contain a hundred million electrical volts.

When the lineman arrived I was curious, and didn’t want to interrupt his work or become a safety risk, but he greeted me and was happy to explain how the transformer fuses worked. Even sacrificed one in the name of science by cutting it apart and explaining how it works. The lines around our neighborhood are energized with 14,000 volts, which are stepped down to 240 volts by the transformers so it is safe for use by our homes. Inside the transformer is a coil of copper submerged in mineral oil. Each wrap of the coil inside the transformer reduces the power by 3 volts. The power line is connected to the transformer by a fuse. The particular fuse he replaced is rated for 3 amps. He explained the fuse has a small amount of gun powder which is ignited when an over current event occurs to prevent further electrical damage reaching our homes.

After the first lineman repaired all the fuses, most of us in Spring Lake Cove had power restored. Eventually the crew arrived with the bucket truck and replacement transformer. They made quick work of getting it replaced. In total they were completed with all repairs in under 4 hours between 7:13 AM and 10:45 AM.

Very grateful that the only damage was a transformer and everyone remained safe! Hope you found this post interesting and enjoyed the photos.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled day!