Amanda and I love thunderstorms. Always have. We love them even more now that we live in a pole barn.
Of course, we might feel completely differently if someone close to us had suffered terribly in a thunderstorm, for example by being one of the thousand or so people each year who are struck by lightning. But so far, thunderstorms bring relief from the summer heat and revive pleasant memories of childhood for both of us.
We were hard at work on Saturday, knowing that an afternoon shower was likely and that we each had tasks we wanted to complete before it arrived. Amanda was working to get her Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato seedlings in the ground; I wanted to get the last transport line in the irrigation system installed. Both of us had our heads down as we raced against the clock. We heard the distant rumbling announce that a thunderstorm was approaching, but we kept at it. Only when we could see the flash of close lightning and the immediate clap of its thunder did we retreat to the barn.
A pole barn is a great place to be in a thunderstorm. First, of course, it shelters you from the pelting rain. But any building with a good roof could do that. The pole barn allows you to experience the storm. There are no walls, so you can see the storm clearly; and storms are beautiful, so that’s a good thing. In Alabama, thunderstorms usually bring stiff winds. Even while sheltered from the rain you can feel tiny droplets drifting in with the wind, and on a hot, summer day there’s nothing more delightful than that cooling mist. It’s not unusual for the temperature to drop 10-12 degrees within five minutes during a rollicking good southern thunderstorm.
And then there’s that roof. We have 5,000 square feet of sheet metal, so we hear immediately when it begins even to mist. When we get the hard rain of a thunderstorm, the roof actually roars. As Amanda points out, there’s something curiously comforting about being sheltered from the rain while hearing it hit that metal roof.
This is so typical of the woman I love. When she read this, it became important to her that you know we don’t actually live in the open pole barn. Our home is an apartment under the roof, absurdly well insulated on all sides and the ceiling. So that roar that’s so pervasive when you’re standing in the open air is more distant, and quieter, when we’re closed up in the apartment.
And if you’re like me, you’re probably asking yourself about whether there’s a risk involved in putting all that metal out in the middle of an electrical storm. The answer is yes. Our solution is a bristling lightning protection system designed to carry any charge immediately to ground plates on all four corners of the barn. We may never know if it has helped, but both of us are happy that it’s in place.
The thunderstorm in this video gave us .43″ of rain. The one the next day brought 1.58″, but we missed it because we were in Montgomery visiting with Amanda’s Mom. Oh well . . .