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Old 04-10-2013, 01:38 PM   #15
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1963 26' Overlander
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2008
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So how'd it go?

We got some rain down here in Austin this morning, and about a 25-degree temperature drop. Hope all went well for you.


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Old 04-10-2013, 02:30 PM   #16
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2008 16' Safari
Destrehan , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 395
Yes, you're safe in the trailer.
Yes, it's a good idea to disconnect the power cord.
Yes, lower the antenna. (no need to tempt the gods of lightning)
No, you don't need a grounding rod. You are more likely to either be injured or damage the trailer if you install a ground rod because this will channel all of the power through the ground point.
The only danger it to be stepping out of the trailer at the exact moment a lighting blot strikes. At that fraction of a second, you become the path to ground.
So, if you're in a lighting storm, either stay out of the trailer or stay in. Going in and out is a bad idea.
You are at far more risk when towing the trailer.
Deaths from lightning in the US per year: about 50
Deaths on the highway in the US per year: about 34,000

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Old 04-10-2013, 05:43 PM   #17
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1985 31' Excella
Seguin , Texas
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More information can be found at the National Lightning Safety Institute. This link explains the cone-of-protection myth:

Cone of Protection Myth - National Lightning Safety Institute


If you are in a severe storm the best protection is to lift your jacks and unplug. You may run some risk of personal injury as you are exposed while you are unplugging. Do not store your power cable under your RV. Retract and store all deployed antenna. Disconnect external TV/Satellite antenna wiring. Are the RV jacks deployed directly on the ground? Is your generator on? Both of these situations increase your chance to attract lightning.
On a 30 or 50-amp shore power cord, the connector connects the RV frame ground to the shore power earth ground. This path is designed to prevent an electrical shock from touching an electrical enclosure. The power cable will not provide a sufficient conductor to ground in the event of a lightning strike to the RV frame.
Reported incidents and related injuries make it clear that a person inside a fully enclosed metal vehicle must not be touching metallic objects connected to the outside of the vehicle. Door and window handles, radio dials, CB microphones, gearshifts, steering wheels and other inside-to-outside metal objects should be left alone during close-in lightning events. Do not wash hands or take a shower during a storm. Do not get close to electrical appliances such as the TV or plug in laptop PCs. In no circumstances, during close-in lightning, should the passengers attempt to step off the RV to the ground in an attempt to find another shelter. Very dangerous Step Voltage and Touch Voltage situations are created when a "dual pathway to ground" is created. Lightning voltages will attempt to equalize and they may go through a person in order to do so. Do not get on the roof of your RV when a storm is nearby! Don't be an isolated tall object, and don't be connected to anything that may be an isolated tall object.
To further lower your odds, don't park your RV near the tallest trees or utility poles. Rubber tires provide zero safety from lightning. After all, lightning has traveled for miles through the sky: four or five inches of rubber are no insulation whatsoever. Avoid higher elevations, wide-open areas, tall isolated objects, and water-related activities. Avoid unprotected open structures like picnic pavilions, and rain shelters.
Lightning has been known to strike more than 10 miles from a storm in an area of clear sky. There is no defense for lightning's bolt-out-of-the-blue occasional strike. But for the most part, lightning safety is a risk management procedure. Early recognition of the lightning hazard, with an awareness of defensive options, will provide high levels of safety.
Essentially, the most dangerous times occur from a weak storm without too many flashes, at the edge of a larger storm, or early or late in the life of a storm. Much of a storm's lightning remains within the clouds, leaping from the negatively charged bottom of the clouds to the positively charged top. When an object on the ground, such as a tree, building or an RV, becomes positively charged, the lightning sparks to the ground. A bolt of lightning can be as great as 15 million volts.
Lightning leaders from thunderclouds proceed in steps of tens of meters, electrifying ground-based objects as they approach the earth. Ground-based objects may launch lightning streamers to meet these leaders. Streamers may be heard (some say they sound like bacon frying) and seen (we may notice our hair standing on end). A connecting leader-streamer results in a closed circuit cloud-to-ground lightning flash. Thunder is the acoustic shock wave from the electrical discharge. Thus, thunder and lightning are associated with one another.
Recreation Vehicles and Lightning What happens when lightning strikes a recreation vehicle? I have determined that few, if any, RVs get struck while mobile. They are mostly vulnerable when connected to shore power and/or when they have their jacks deployed without at least five inches of wood or some other insulator between the jacks and ground. I have noted that RVs are more susceptible to damage from induced lightning surges when connected to shore power and lightning hits nearby transformers
Electrically speaking, at lightning's higher frequencies, currents are carried mostly on the outside of conducting objects. A thick copper wire or a hollow-wall metal pipe will carry most of the lightning on outer surfaces. This phenomenon is called Skin Effect. The same holds true for lightning striking a metal vehicle: the outer surface carries most of the electricity. The persons inside this steel box are partially protected by a partial Faraday Cage.
If an RV is manufactured of fiberglass, a direct lightning strike will likely go right through the vehicle, even if the vehicle body does not conduct electricity. Wet surfaces alter the current path. One of the most dangerous places is just outside of a vehicle, because electric current travels around the outside of vehicles.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:58 AM   #18
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1969 18' Caravel
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Hey guys. Thanks for the number of awesome responses and sorry for the slow reply. I feel better, feel like my worries were properly placed in the first place (wind, hail carry a greater risk than chance of lighting). I'm just outside of Fort Worth- for now. And though I'm still not sure of the BEST course to take for lighting-strike preparedness, I can see that my buddy was a bit short-sighted in harping about my hitch being propped on rubber when I'm plugged into the house. But the worry he caused was a good thing because I learned a TON. Thanks again for all the info. You'll be hearing more from me (after I use the search feature and do a fair amount of research on my Airstream obsession topic of the moment, of course.) Be well, everybody! And like my friend's gynecologist used to always tell her, if you can't be good, be careful! (She didn't listen and has three kids and no Airstream.)
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:33 AM   #19
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Fort Worth , Texas
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I have determined that few, if any, RVs get struck while mobile. They are mostly vulnerable when connected to shore power and/or when they have their jacks deployed without at least five inches of wood or some other insulator between the jacks and ground.

Yes, this thread is a keeper.

E-Z enough for me to further cut down some pressure-treat I bought last year for some other uses. I've decided I really don't like plastic jack/tire pads (such as LYNX LEVEL), so I'll make the wood into dedicated pieces for the stabilizing jacks.

And, SarahCaravel, that was quite funny about the friend.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 12-cpm solo, 19-cpm towing (fuel)
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:42 PM   #20
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2000 31' Land Yacht
Central , Florida
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Danger from lightning by being in your AS, most of the planes in the sky would be falling out of the sky, very similar construction, much better than my fiberglass MH. Lightning has a general rule Faraday proved it, but always exceptions to any rule. My advice don't touch metal while in the middle of a storm, my son in law would say don't be on the phone or in the shower.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:47 PM   #21
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Petaluma , California
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A little off topic but looks like North Texas got some severe Tornadic activity with several funnels, 80 MPH Thunderstorm wind gusts and grapefruit size hail this evening. Hope all of our streamers down there are OK. - Brad
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:07 PM   #22
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2006 23' Safari SE
Dallas , Texas
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Lots of damage SW of DFW , at least 2 deaths , at least 10 tornados

Dana and Olga
2006 Safari 23
2011 Tundra Double Cab
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