Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Thursday, April 7, 2022. It’s also a warm if gray and ominous-looking spring day in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 80˚F (27˚C) under mostly cloudy skies. With humidity at 84% and the wind blowing from the southwest at 14 MPH (22 KM/H), the heat index is 85˚F (30˚C). Today’s forecast calls for heavy thunderstorms in the afternoon. The high will be 83˚F (29˚C). Tonight, we can expect light rain in the area. The low will be 61˚F (16˚C).
I have, of course, lived in this state for approximately 53 of my 59 years on Earth. 47 in Miami, and (as of April 10) six here in Lithia. I am therefore familiar with the weather patterns of the Sunshine State and know that pretty soon we will be in the thick of the rainy season that runs almost parallel to the hurricane season.
Still, I have never been fond of the thunderstorms that earned Florida the moniker “Lightning Capital of the World.” Lightning strikes, especially those that occur dangerously close to the house, make me nervous. I have good reason to be on edge when the skies are darkened by massive cumulonimbus clouds; in the last houses where I lived in Miami, I lost electronic devices to surges caused by lightning – my black-and-white TV at our Westchester home back in 1974, and an eMachines personal computer in 2004.
As a result, I always try to avoid using electronic devices that are plugged into a power outlet during a thunderstorm. Not only does the unimaginably strong surge from a lightning bolt fry a PC or television set’s components, but it can fry you, too. Battery-operated stuff that’s not plugged into a wall outlet is safe to use, at least indoors, but anything that requires a connection to a power socket – even if it’s plugged into a power strip with a surge protector – is fair game for all that electricity from a bolt out of the blue.
Not only that but you can be injured or even killed by lightning during a storm inside a building if you are using a computer or landline phone that’s connected to a power socket. That’s not the way I want to check out from this existence, so even though some people think it’s hilarious when I say I’m unplugging my personal electronics because a thunderstorm is approaching.
Better safe than sorry, I always say. Especially when bad weather is in the mix.
And because it’s as dark here as it gets around 7 PM or so, I will close for now, Dear Reader. No use tempting the Fates and all that. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.