I record my Friday KPTZ radio newscast on Thursday night so I can sleep in the next morning. What could possibly happen overnight in the sleepy town of Port Townsend to make my news appear pre-recorded?
Here’s what I recorded Thursday night: “It’s another beautiful day in paradise … AccuWeather is predicting sunshine and a high of 74 degrees today.”
Here’s what my radio listeners on Friday morning were experiencing at that very moment: Jagged bolts and flashes of lightning. Grumble rumble thunder blasts and rain … all … day … long. I know! Steve Martin as the weatherman in “L.A. Story,” right? Only this was real life.
Even our cats were scared. I’d never experienced a 16-hour thunderstorm barrage before, but that’s what happened.
I lived a couple years in the Lightning Capital of the World, otherwise known as Tampa Bay, but the wimpy Florida storms blow through in an hour or two (OK, they’re NOT wimpy. One bolt struck a tree less than 20 feet from where I sat. Talk about LOUD). But Friday’s was the Mother of All Lightning Storms.
I found myself counting seconds between flash and blast, then wondered if the story I heard as a kid was true — one second equals one mile away. Turns out to be better than that. According to the Web, FIVE seconds equals one mile. So when I count “a thousand one, a thousand two” … GA-BALOOM! … the lightning is not two miles away. It’s really just a couple thousand feet away.
But perhaps we shouldn’t trust what we read on the Web. That’s where I got my AccuWeather forecast.