Lightning gives warning

Wednesday, August 15, 2001 at 12:00am

Sometimes you can feel when lightning might be about to strike.

I experienced this very uncomfortable feeling one day while fishing on Reelfoot Lake.

On this particular day, I could see black clouds building up in the west, and they were moving toward the lake. I had not heard any thunder, so I continued to fish.

As I cranked my spinning reel, I could hear a sizzling, crackling sound. I paid no immediate attention to the sound until I looked down at my reel. There was static electricity building up as I cranked the reel handle. My fishing line was sort of floating in the air.

The hair on my arms was standing up and tingling. I was standing up. I put the rod and reel down quickly and I sat down. I continued to watch the clouds moving in from the west; I cranked the engine and went straight to the shoreline.

Now I was definitely a potential target for a lightning strike, according to all the information I've been able to gather.

One way to get the feeling that I had that day is to hold your arm very close to the front of a color television screen that is turned on and see how it feels. Look at the hair standing up on your arm. If you're ever near a storm and you feel this way, then you know that you may be in danger. Lightning could strike any second.

There are thousands of lightning strikes very day. Scientists think that lightning hits somewhere on the earth about 100 times every second. More people are killed by lightning than by any other kind of storm, including hurricanes and tornadoes.

Every year, about 100 people are killed by lightning in the United States and also about 100 people in Europe. In the whole world, lightning kills more than 1,000 people a year, maybe many more. A lot more people are hurt by lightning than are killed by it, and many of those who live are hurt very badly.

Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from a storm. It has been known to strike 15 or more miles away from a cloud. So if there is blue sky above you and it is not raining, you still might not be safe if you can see or hear a storm in the distance.

Lightning can strike in a big circle anywhere around where the rain is falling.

Lightning is a big charge of electricity that can reach from clouds to the ground or to other clouds. It can start fires but can also help nature by putting nitrogen in the ground for plants to use.

My mother use to tell me to get off the telephone when a storm was near or happening. People have been struck while using the phone. Electricity can go from the phone through your ear and into your brain. I can also remember that she would tell me to get away from windows and the door.

Needless to say, I don't even think about fishing or hunting when there is a storm near or far. In fact, I check the weather before I ever plan a outdoor fishing or hunting trip.

Bass Pro Shop Hunting Classic

Strange sounds will be echoing in the Opry Mills area beginning Aug. 17-19, as Bass Pro Shops Annual Fall Hunting Classic will get underway.

Rattling for deer and grunting for elks may sound kind of weird but it pays off for deer and elk hunters and that's what you'll be hearing.

The Fall Hunting Classic is free to the whole family and whether you're hunting whitetail, waterfowl, turkey, or into dog training, bow hunting, or elk calling, the Fall Hunting Classic features everything you need to be prepared to go into the field.

There will be free seminars hosted by some of the world's most successful hunters such as Eddie Salter of Hunter's Specialties, Wayne Smith with Quaker Boy, Primos' Robert Crouch and Kevin Slater Small of Outland Sports.

Larry Weishuhn and Brenda Valentine, pro staffers with RedHead will be answering your hunting questions. Get the latest on dog training techniques with renowned trainer Jim Crosby of Innotek.

See displays from the country's top hunting manufacturers, then visit with factory reps to discuss new gear, techniques and strategies for fall 2001. Get your hands on the hottest new products in the industry during Outdoor World's biggest hunting event of the year.

The impressive "King of Bucks" collection will be exhibited and is on loan from the Springfield, MO., museum. This particular exhibit is a world-class collection of record North American Whitetail mounts.

At the same time, you can test archery skills during the RedHead 3-D Pop-Up Archery Competition, open to the public August 10-11. For details about this event call (501) 337-7721, (501) 844-4535, or check the web site at www.redhead3popup.com.

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