On June 3rd sever thunderstorms hit San Bernardino County bringing fires, personal injury and a horrible death to a Fontana woman. I don't wish to diminish the loss other people suffered that day by telling you about my near miss. But I am thankful that I have the opportunity to describe the experience the storm demonstrated to me and hope you will read my column today as a safety lesson.


The storm came on suddenly, intruding upon a typical day when I open windows to allow the morning air to refresh the house. I was on the computer when I heard the first thunder clap. I didn't see lightening so I did not have the opportunity to count the number of seconds from the flash of lightening until the clap of thunder to estimate the number of miles the storm was from my home in Hesperia. I was preparing to log off the computer to be sure I would not lose any data if the power should go out. I just wanted to complete the thought I was trying to put into words when the next clap of thunder arrived and modified my plan. That's when I lost all household power.


Before I would run around resetting clocks, I tried to estimate how big this thunderstorm was. I needed to take a look at the sky to see how black the cumulous clouds were and how fast they were traveling. The best place to do this would be the family room where I have a sliding glass door with an unobstructed view of the northern sky. As I entered the family room but before I reached the open slider, the most astonishing thing I have ever seen stopped me in my tracks.


The next clap of thunder simultaneously brought a long string of shinny bright golden yellow light bars creating jagged patterns across the floor. The golden cylindrical light bars were about an inch wide. These were so intense they appeared to have physical substance that could be mapped and measurable. Each segment was straight, connecting with others at angels so that the string of these resembled the jagged lighting bolts we have all seen in photos of lightening returning from the clouds to find its way back to the ground.


The golden light bars rolled into my house from the open slider. The entire jagged yellow light phenomenon was surrounded in a misty (or smoky) cloud of intense white about waist high and traveling approximately fifteen feet into the room. For the instant this phenomenon was in my home, the entire room flooded with a white light so intense, it caused me to squint. It was brighter and more pure than the white that surrounded the golden light bars and brighter than the light outside. There was no odor. Nothing burned. Nothing was scorched. And as quickly at this happened, it was over. I didn't see it leave in reverse order by leaving through the door. It simply vanished as if it had never been there.


The Bolt Lightening did not damage anything except to my nerves. I was very fortunate. Had I been a second quicker moving toward that open door, my experience might have made the front page of the paper instead of being relegated to the inside in this column. For the next week, I told everyone I met about this and I considered every observation they made. I'm thankful that the Daily Press listed precautions in their June 4th article about the Lightning. That list included staying away from open doors, windows, and fireplaces. I can vouch for that that one. Glass serves as an insulator and can protect us from lightening. I hadn't considered that.


Lightening strikes are random. We can't predict where lightening will seek ground. So, if we should happen to be in the path it's taking, we will be struck. What astonished me most was the way the lightening bolt I saw that day appeared to roll into my house. It must have been traveling on an angle and my open door just happened to be on the path it chose. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share the story.