When Lightning Strikes… Hard Drives Can Suffer Damage

August 8, 2011

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Tropical Storm Emily has now moved off to the Northeast and no longer poses a threat to any land. In a previous post, I had included a “spaghetti model” showing most of the projected paths coming straight towards South Florida. This was by no means a major storm, but could have easily caused serious property damage and possible loss of life, nonetheless.

However yesterday, we had a strong line of thunderstorms come through our area that lasted for most of the late afternoon and early evening. South Florida is known for our severe lightning storms and the damage that can be caused. There is an average of 10 deaths each year here that are attributed to lightning strikes. I do realize that some of my blog posts do seem to show an interest in weather. However, I am trying to emphasize more so the effects that some of this inclement and occasionally violent weather can have on business continuity. Data loss and its effects can be much more far-reaching than initially expected. (If expected at all.) I would be under the impression that if a business is aware of possible data loss, that they would have a data recovery plan in place.

Not much surprises me these days. However one of the few things that do, is the number of searches for “Florida Data Recovery Service” that come up after we experience one of these highly electrically charged storms. One of the very first things learned in computer repair is the absolute need for caution to prevent static electrostatic discharge. Static electricity can easily wreak havoc on sensitive computer components especially your hard drive or CPU. Sometimes down here, on a particularly stormy day, people with very thin ‘fly away’ hair will actually notice their hair standing up due to static electricity in the air. It’s very similar to the Van de Graaff generator that most of us learned about back in middle school.

Have you ever drug your feet across carpet, and then touched a doorknob only to receive a static electricity discharge shock? A discharge as low as 200 volts can damage computer components!
The type of static shock generated by scooting your feet on carpet can be measured as anywhere up to 2,000 volts.
So you can just imagine the kind of damaging wallop that a full lightning storm would pack.

Lightning can easily cause damage to electronics

Lightning can easily cause damage to electronics, including hard disk drives.

Yesterday’s storms here in South Florida rendered over 13,000 people without power for hours in Palm Beach County alone! (And this was just one of our normal summertime afternoon storms.)

I’m curious to see how many local South Florida data recovery customers we will have this week that are directly related to these impressive storms. Generally we do see spikes (Pardon the pun) in people searching out a Florida data recovery service after this type of storm. Sometimes, there is a delayed reaction as most folks will go through their I.T. department, computer repair person or other similar channels prior to determining that a data recovery services will be needed.

I’ll be curious to see exactly how many calls and quotes for Florida data recovery this week that are directly related to the severe lightning storms and power outages on Sunday August 7th.

Keep your valuable electronics plugged into a surge suppressor and/or battery backup if possible.

In the end, any actual components including your hard drive that are damaged can be replaced.
However, the data that is stored on your computer’s hard drive cannot.

For more information on how to avoid data loss due to lightning strikes, we have a page located here.

ECO Data Recovery


One comment

  1. Ironically enough, we had 2 separate hard drives come in locally today that were damaged due to lightning strikes.

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