Lightning DOES strike in the same place - over and over

Started by MacWa77ace, September 19, 2023, 01:15:42 PM

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MacWa77ace

Our building was struck by lightning last night. This is the third time, and each time it was in exactly the same spot.

Photo from this morning:

You can even see the paint differences from the previous repair the last time that spot was hit.

The first time it exploded the concrete off the edge of the building just like in the above pic, AND knocked out our main switch in our computer room. Or I should say knocked half of it out. 48 port switch. Some how its getting into the ethernet lines as the power to the switch is UPS and surge protected.

We had to do a workaround while waiting for a replacement switch to have some internet while waiting for it to come in a few days later. And my company then got an extra switch to have on hand in case this happened somewhere else in the country to another location, they could fedx the switch out. Lesson learned.

We got the concrete repaired.

Then got struck again in the same spot a few years later, which exploded the concrete out again. BUT this time with no ill effects to our electronics. Got the concrete repaired. [i'm going to have to look up that one 'cause it wasn't too long ago]

Then today as I'm walking in the door our warehouse manager comes up front all frustrated, looking for a CAT5 cable saying his internet is out but the other workstation's was working. I get him a cable. Then start up my computer which is a laptop connected to a docking station which runs two monitors. But my left monitor is my main screen and the main screen comes up on the Laptop screen. Uh oh, that's not right. Then the monitors don't come up. Uh oh.

When I left last night I heard lots of thunder west of us over the Everglades and it was really dark. I thought to myself, we got hit again. I called my IT dept and they walked me thru trouble shooting my laptop, another laptop, and two other computers, and all the UPS backups. Both laptops' docking stations are fried. Everything else is ok except the main switch. Half the ports are fried. When I got off the phone with them I dialed my GM to update him and started walking out of the building to the side of the building that got struck twice before. I'm talking to the GM as the spot comes into view and say 'same exact spot!'.  :rolleyes1:

We are going to look into putting up a lightning rod at that spot on the building now. And my IT dept is going to send 1 spare docking station to the rest of our locations in case this ever happens anywhere else. And send replacements for us here.

I don't know why that one spot is a magnet for lightning strikes but that makes #3 in that exact spot. Anyhow we keep adding spare equipment for these types of emergencies.

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EBuff75

Crazy that it's been hit three times in that exact spot.  There's got to be something about it that's attracting the lightning, but I have no idea what it would be.

I wonder if there was just enough static electricity in the air after the strike that it got into the network equipment that way?  When I was a kid, we had a touch sensitive lamp that would turn itself on and off when there were lightning storms in the area.  It would also do that if it got too dry in the house, just from people (or cats), or sometimes the vacuum cleaner passing near enough for it to think that someone had touched it.  We used to jokingly refer to it as our haunted lamp because of this.
Information - it's all a battle for information. You have to know what's happening if you're going to do anything about it. - Tom Clancy, Patriot Games

flybynight

Quote from: MacWa77ace on September 19, 2023, 01:15:42 PMOur building was struck by lightning last night. This is the third time, and each time it was in exactly the same spot.

Photo from this morning:

You can even see the paint differences from the previous repair the last time that spot was hit.

The first time it exploded the concrete off the edge of the building just like in the above pic, AND knocked out our main switch in our computer room. Or I should say knocked half of it out. 48 port switch. Some how its getting into the ethernet lines as the power to the switch is UPS and surge protected.

We had to do a workaround while waiting for a replacement switch to have some internet while waiting for it to come in a few days later. And my company then got an extra switch to have on hand in case this happened somewhere else in the country to another location, they could fedx the switch out. Lesson learned.

We got the concrete repaired.

Then got struck again in the same spot a few years later, which exploded the concrete out again. BUT this time with no ill effects to our electronics. Got the concrete repaired. [i'm going to have to look up that one 'cause it wasn't too long ago]

Then today as I'm walking in the door our warehouse manager comes up front all frustrated, looking for a CAT5 cable saying his internet is out but the other workstation's was working. I get him a cable. Then start up my computer which is a laptop connected to a docking station which runs two monitors. But my left monitor is my main screen and the main screen comes up on the Laptop screen. Uh oh, that's not right. Then the monitors don't come up. Uh oh.

When I left last night I heard lots of thunder west of us over the Everglades and it was really dark. I thought to myself, we got hit again. I called my IT dept and they walked me thru trouble shooting my laptop, another laptop, and two other computers, and all the UPS backups. Both laptops' docking stations are fried. Everything else is ok except the main switch. Half the ports are fried. When I got off the phone with them I dialed my GM to update him and started walking out of the building to the side of the building that got struck twice before. I'm talking to the GM as the spot comes into view and say 'same exact spot!'.  :rolleyes1:

We are going to look into putting up a lightning rod at that spot on the building now. And my IT dept is going to send 1 spare docking station to the rest of our locations in case this ever happens anywhere else. And send replacements for us here.

I don't know why that one spot is a magnet for lightning strikes but that makes #3 in that exact spot. Anyhow we keep adding spare equipment for these types of emergencies.


You should probably run. Hard and fast now.  :panic:

https://youtu.be/dvWWLLbaCJY?si=lIcu8X2ddbyEgsls


"Hey idiot, you should feel your pulse, not see it."  Echo 83

Rednex

I don't see any rebar sticking out much less enough to attract lighting.

Anianna

Somewhat related PSA, if your hair ever starts doing this for no apparent reason:



get indoors immediately or run in a direction away from storm clouds if you see them.  If there is nowhere safe to move to, move away from any metal or trees if possible, crouch as low as you can with only your feet touching the ground, clasp your hands behind your neck, and touch your elbows to your knees to give the lightning a path to the ground that bypasses your heart if it strikes you.  The static in the air making your hair fly away is indicative of a potential impending lightning strike in the area.
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Raptor

Many buildings are struck by lightning repeatedly. Most larger commercial building will have a lightning bonding system on on the roof. This consists of spikes about a foot high tied into an aluminum cable that is lead to ground and thus provides the path of least resistance for lightning strikes.

The cooling tower on my building is highest part and has such a system. It has been struck by lightning several times, albeit with no damage.

These systems work and are fairly common. The term frequently used is a lighting rod. But modern systems have many rods to cover a wider area.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning_rod
Folks you are on your own...Plan and act accordingly!

I will never claim to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers. As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

MacWa77ace

yeah, this is what i'm thinking we're going to have to do.


@Raptor do I call my GC, or an electrician, or who to get quotes? Or just google/bing 'lightning bonding system installation' to find vendors.
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Raptor

You want a company that does lightning bonding  systems. They can design the system and give drawings to a contractor who can install the system.

They are not in every city but they do not need to be. The design is important but the install is crucial to get right.
https://www.harger.com is one such design and equipment supply company.

I took these photos when the building cooling tower was replaced. The insurance risk management company wanted proof that new equipment was lightning protected. 

The 3rd one is the copper cable that connects to the building lighting ground and all of the spikes are wired back to that. 
Folks you are on your own...Plan and act accordingly!

I will never claim to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers. As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

MacWa77ace

Harger has Mfr trained partners in my area, thanks. Seems like they are all electricians so that increases my contacts as electricians or electrical contractors may have other Mfr solutions. [to get a few quotes]

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MacWa77ace

1) Switch ~$2500 and 2) docking stations $194 ea, replaced.

Now to quote the repair to the concrete. GM says just leave it.

And quote the lightning rods.

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MacWa77ace

ETA: weirdness on the docking stations. I'm pretty sure the surge went thru the ethernet cables, but I got my replacement docking station before the replacement switch came in an was up and running with internet on the bad switch using the same port. I thought I was probably not going to have [hardwired] internet once I got power.  [all docking stations are UPC'd surge and battery backups]

So somehow that port on the switch sent a surge to my docking station that killed it, but the port didn't die. Other ports on the switch were dead though.

Magic lightning.  :smiley_shrug:
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NT2C

Quote from: MacWa77ace on September 25, 2023, 02:42:28 PMETA: weirdness on the docking stations. I'm pretty sure the surge went thru the ethernet cables, but I got my replacement docking station before the replacement switch came in an was up and running with internet on the bad switch using the same port. I thought I was probably not going to have [hardwired] internet once I got power.  [all docking stations are UPC'd surge and battery backups]

So somehow that port on the switch sent a surge to my docking station that killed it, but the port didn't die. Other ports on the switch were dead though.

Magic lightning.  :smiley_shrug:
Your system was the victim of induced current, probably in the power leads between the UPS and the switch but could also have been induced current on the ethernet.  A lightning strike that close is going to cause all kinds of stray currents.  This is one reason to want to keep cables and power cords as short as possible, and neatly coiled,
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MacWa77ace

$1800 quoted to repair the building's missing 'chunk'.


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