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Lightning Strikes Home in Odessa

A woman's house is struck by lightning in Odessa, leaving a hole in her roof and chimney.
ODESSA, TX, (Local Big 2 News) - An Odessa woman continues to put her home back together, after lightning struck her house.

"We were just trying to get inside the house and heard a big huge "boom", and ran in the hail all the way to the house and saw brick everywhere on the patio."

Kelly Fletcher describes the scene when she and her husband arrive home during a severe thunderstorm Wednesday night. The two were in their car, in their driveway, when lightning struck her house.

"It was very loud," Fletcher says with a nervous laugh. 

The aftermath will cost thousands to fix.

"He said probably anywhere between $10,000 to $12,000 dollars to have a new roof and that doesn't count the chimney that has to be completely rebuilt," says Fletcher. 

Fletcher quickly discovered the outside of your house is not the only place at risk from a strike.

"I have two TV's that are broke, two cable boxes that are broke," she says.

It's a strike she never thought could happen.

"It is very crazy because I mean, I didn't know lightning could strike your house," Fletcher explains.

Next week is lightning safety awareness week, and the National Weather Service wants you to know how to protect yourself from the destructive and deadly power of lightning.

"I think everyone ought to be prepared, because I had no idea, and I'm going to research and find out why lightning can do that," she says.

It's believed Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod in 1752. Fletcher tells me after this ordeal, she might invest in one soon.

Now here's a few proven ways you can protect yourself and property from lightning, both outside and inside a building:

Outside

-Seek shelter inside a sturdy building as soon as you hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. 

-If no building is available, get into a hard-topped car, close all the windows, and don't touch car electronics such as the radio. The metal frame of the car is what protects you from lightning, NOT the rubber tires.

-As a last resort if a sturdy building or car is not available, crouch down in the lowest spot you can find, such as a ditch (watch out for snakes and flooding).

-Install a lightning rod on your house to divert the electric current safely into the ground.

Inside

-Stay off corded phones and electronics. Ideally, try to unplug these items well before the storm arrives to protect them from power surges.

-Stay out of the shower. Lightning can enter your house through plumbing.

-Stay away from doors and windows.

For a complete list of lightning safety tips, visit: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/tips.htm
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