When Lighting Strikes - Next Door

A severe thunderstorm warning had been issued for Calgary one afternoon. Of course, it actually looked good outside until 4:59 PM when everyone was due to leave work for the day. At approximately 5 PM, the clouds opened up and started pouring on the H20 in an impressive display of the sheer power of Mother Nature. Of course, this was merely the warm-up for the main event.

Shocking Events

On the way home from work, the storm had swung into full force; rain and lightning were coming down with both regularity and noise. I arrived home soaking wet from the downpour, and was in the midst of getting changed when it hit.

Lightning alledgedly struck the roof of our neighbours' house, causing a massive thunderclap at the same instant as the lightning flash. A simultaneous response of "holy @#*!%, that was loud!" came from my rooomates. One said, "I felt that!" - he was taking apart his computer at the time, and had an arc jump between the case and his hand. Both man and machine survived the ordeal, neither flying five feet in the air at the time of the strike.

After things settled, suspicions kicked in about the electronics. We figured some stuff might be damaged, but we didn't figure the destruction would be this extensive:

  • Linksys 802.11G router
  • Linksys wired router
  • Ethernet hub
  • 10/100MB NICs (x3)
  • USB hub
  • Phone
  • Phone service

The routers and hub had ports blown on them. This wouldn't be a major problem if it were just one, but there were two or three on each - including the WAN/uplink ports which effectively rendered the routers useless. Oddly enough, the USB hub on my machine was blown out despite the NIC (and everything else) being fine.


The network equipment was all connected to the same power loop and was not on a surge protector, which probably didn't help. Regardless however, our phone line was still dead for roughly 24 hours after the event; it's arguable whether having surge protectors on the network equipment would have made much of a difference.

Apparently the neighbours also lost two TV's and the fan above their range.

$320, two routers, a hub and a surge-protected power bar later, the LAN is back up and running. At the least, we have more ports (and hopefully voltage spike protection) available.