But....the strangest effect of static build up happened to me in the middle of the winter. It was cold, dry and windy as hell, not a cloud in the sky. the static build up on my antennas was so bad that all of bulkhead connecors that I use for disconnects were sparking like sparkplugs! It even took out all of the FET front ends in ALL of my VHF rigs. I was actually somewhat worried about all of the arcing and sparking starting a fire.
Whether you darken the screen on a TV or not, as a tornado approaches the screen will get brighter. As for the static build up, that is very common in the SW. Any place West of a line drawn along I-35 from Dallas, Tx to OKC, and on to the Canadian Border will have that type of thing plus another which is just as bad.
Blowing dust can cause a static build up as strong as you relate. In the dry climes of Western OK out to the desert of California just scooting your foot on carpet when the atmosphere is dry can produce an arc over 1/4 of and inch and when appropriately placed near the end of someone's nose or near their ear will cause a brief moment of grief.
Dry blowing snow will cause the same effect and none of them are good for equipment with FETs in the front end.