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lightningstrikea300.jpg Submitted by Tim Buckley on Wed, 06/16/2010 - 3:51pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- With summertime heat and humidity setting in across the area, strong and sometimes severe thunderstorms are here nearly every day. Is your home prepared to handle some of the dangers of lightning strikes? It's something one of our own employees found out this weekend. Lightning striking at or your home can wreak havoc on your electronics, appliances, and even some old broken video games. "I don't even really think that I even heard it," Jesse Jones said. "The light was more of the impact. It was just so startling." That flash of light was from a lightning strike as a strong storm plowed through Porters Neck Sunday morning. "Power went off immediately, waited for the storm to end, went out, hit all the circuit breakers and then some of the stuff went on and some of the stuff didn't," Jones said. The damage at this home is not from downed branches or power lines. Instead a surge of power left some electronics useless, light switches, a connecting pipe carrying gas to the stove a computer's ethernet card fried. Some things work. Some things don't. "A lot of it is very weird stuff," Jones said. "It's kind of unexplainable. I guess the electricity goes where it wants to go, so the TV in the living room is blown, but that wasn't the one that we were watching. The TV that we were watching is fine." The home did not suffer a direct strike. Experts say it does not need a strike to feel the effects of lightning... "It doesn't even have to be a cloud to ground strike. It could be a cloud to cloud strike, and it can be induced on data lines in the house," said Alan Swisher of Progress Energy. The weirdest part? An old video game was brought to life by the strike "I have a little handheld video game which hasn't been played in years," Jones said. "It's battery powered, wasn't plugged into anything, and I went to check it out and it was lit up. So now it wont turn off." How can this happen? This case stumps even the experts. "Lightning can do some strange things," Swisher said. "I'd have to see it to see what's going on there. I wouldn't put anything past lightning if it gets into your house." Unfortunately replacing TVs, computer parts and appliances is tedious, expensive and requires far more paperwork than cleaning up branches. Energy experts say the only way to protect your home from these type of electrical strikes is surge protectors. Power surge strips like most of us have for our electronics work well, but to protect other appliances like your stove, progress energy offers a surge protector you can mount inside your electric meter for a monthly fee. The power company says it prevents surges from entering the home.

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