Lightning hits homes, damages trees in Tuesday storms

Lightning strikes while family is home; benefit of lightning rods

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Lightning struck in the Tri-County area nearly 5,000 times between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The lightning hit homes and damaged trees. One West Ashley family was home when lightning ripped through their house.

The family said they had no clue what they were in for.

"The power went out for the storm and 10 minutes later we got struck by lightning," said Charleston County EMS Chief Don Lundy.

Lundy says the bright flash lasted only a matter of seconds.

"I heard the noise and when I turned I saw it shoot into the side of the wall of our house," said Lundy.

Lundy says it wasn't what he saw, but what he heard that left him stunned.

"I couldn't hear for about 15 minutes. I have a military background and it's louder than any weapon I've ever heard," said Lundy.

The family saw flames shooting nearly 3 feet from the side of their home. Trees didn't offer any protection from the lightning.

Robery Schulz, owner of South Carolina Lightning Protection said, "The tree may get struck first, but it's going to want to jump to your house as well and that occurs very often."

Schulz and his team are installing a system that will help lightning pass through this home on Daniel Island.

"When you start hearing thunder, you're already in the danger area," said Schulz.

The lightning rods on the roof of the house are connected to special cables that continue into the ground.

Schulz said, "It neither attracts nor repel lightning, it just provides a safe path for it to travel on."

Schulz says people often times use surge protectors thinking their electronics will be safe in case their home is hit by lightning.

"All surge protection equipment states on the manufacturer warranty that this does not protect against a direct lightning strike,"said Schulz.

In the meantime Lundy is waiting for the power to be turned back on, hoping that all of his appliances are still working.

Lunday said, "Lightning is part of mother nature just letting us know who's in charge."

Homes with metal roofs are more likely to get hit by lightning.

A lightning protection system can cost you $4,000-$6,000.

Equipment Insurance

Most homeowners insurance does cover damage done by a lightning strike to your home.

But, some policies may not cover damage from the electrical power surge caused by lightning.

You can also get "equipment break down" insurance, which would cover each item affected by the lightning.

Bottom line, it may be a good idea to check your policy to see if you're covered.

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