Lightning strikes historic Rockton home during Lightning Awareness Week

Published: Jun. 26, 2019 at 6:35 PM CDT
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When thunder roars, go indoors. It isn't just a catchy phrase, it can save your life. And for one Stateline couple, they now have lightning damage to deal with.

Linda and Jay Eaton own the historic Talcott-Olson home in Rockton, where it was struck by lightning when the most recent round of storms moved through the Stateline on June 25. Luckily, they weren't home during the time of the strike, but have many neighbors and friends who captured the moment.

Linda Eaton says, "Almost like an explosion. It threw the limestone, which is heavy, so far." The limestone was original with the house, built 176 years ago. The limestone was locally sourced as well. Limestone does not have a high conductivity rate, and this just shows that anything that stands above ground can indeed get hit by lightning.

The limestone was also at a more vulnerable state because the material was more wet at the time of the lightning strike, which helps trigger lightning strikes.

Jay Eaton says, "It was heard all around the neighborhood. The 3rd floor has a separate heating and cooling with a thermostat up there. I walk up the stairs and there's the thermostat laying on the floor."

With how much electricity lightning strikes contain, it's important to remember the best ways to keep you and your belongings save, especially during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Gilbert Sebenste, a Consulting Meteorologist for AllisonHouse says that during these high intensity storms, it's best to unplug things from the walls of your home.

Sebenste says, "Unplug electronics because lightning can travel through power lines miles away from where we get hit and all it takes is one good surge to take our your valuable tv or phone that's on the charger."

While the historic Rockton home suffered minor damage, remember that when tragedy and lightning strikes, follow the Eaton's footsteps and make the right calls immediately after the fact.

Jay Eaton says, "Immediately, we started making plans, calling the insurance agent. That's key, calling the electrician to review what possible danger sites might be and also pretty thoroughly looking over the house for signs of smoke and burning of any kind."

According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes in the United States about 25 million times a year, with most strikes occurring in the summer season.

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