I Usually Like It When Nature Finds Me, Not Last Night

Being a Nature Photographer, my life is made much easier when nature finds me rather than me going out in search of it. However, in the early hours of this morning nature found me in a drastic way.

I love a good thunderstorm and here in the dark hills of the Algarve it can put on a great show. Last night it got a bit too close.

Around 3am I was awoken by an approaching storm, the rain was battering the roof and faint flashes of lightening followed by thunder was approaching. Within 10 minutes, it was overhead and I was lying in bed watching the flashes. Suddenly, there was a bright but small flash with a loud bang followed by a huge bright flash and an incredible crackling boom. This sound coincided with the sound of things breaking and being thrown through the air and even smashing glass.

I won’t type what I actually shouted as I jumped out of bed but I thought a window had broken so my first thoughts were our cats.

The power had tripped so with just our torches on our mobile phones we opened the bedroom door to find pieces of plastic on the floor. I picked it up and realised it was an exploded ADSL filter, quite a long way from the telephone socket. The power was fine, it had tripped on the board so with light returned I could investigate the damage. There was no broken window it was an outside lamp that had been broken by a flying plastic door! The lightening strike had gotten into the telephone line and exploded the cables, connectors and ADSL filter. It had blown the socket off the wall, the modem in the router had exploded and the strike travelled into my LAN (wired network in the house) taking out a few components along the way. The home phone also exploded.

MEO router destroyed

Luckily, it seems my studio equipment has survived apart from the LAN switch, although I need to test everything. My TV and Home Cinema Amp have not been so lucky, they both have wired LAN connections and seemed to have been destroyed too. You may ask, about my surge protectors. Yes, I have these and UPS, but this only protects the electrical circuits. Phone line protectors are also available, but it’s not going to protect a strike this close. The phone and router was plugged into a surge protector which has seemed to have stopped the strike getting into the electric circuits of the house.

I have checked the house this morning and can’t find any evidence of where the strike hit and I also can’t find any evidence of the strike hitting any telephone posts. The connection on the pole next to the house has exploded but the next pole along seems undamaged. Later I will try to find the actual strike point.

The breaking glass was due to a plastic door being blown off the outside phone cabinet and travelling 5 meters before being stopped by a hanging lantern which got smashed. As you can see from the photos, we were very lucky this didn’t result in a fire. Here are some more photos of what was an eventful night.

The outside telephone cabinet, notice the burn marks on the back. The black cable is the incoming telephone line, the white is the house cable. This is how I found it.

Inside the cabinet

The door of the cabinet, notice the broken hinges. This was thrown at force and smashed a glass latern.

This was the connector between the outside and inside cable. This has exploded which caused the door to blow off.

The telephone socket has blown apart, notice all the black soot.

The telephone base exploded.

Scorch marks left on the cabinet from the telephone exploding. These will be a talking point over time.

The front of the telephone socket and ADSL cable.

Very black ends on the ADSL cable.

Prices of the ADSL filter and power supply casing that was spread all across the living room. The glass is from the broken latern.
The connector block on the pole outside the house exploded too.

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