Courtesy of iii.org
"When thunder roars, go indoors!" is a truism that actually holds. But much of what we think we know about lightning is fiction. Here are some common myths, along with facts that will protect you and your loved ones in a storm.
At any time on our planet Earth, there are 1,800 thunderstorms – and with them come the lightning. Property damage from lightning strikes is covered by regular homeowners insurance for your home, and the comprehensive portion of a car insurance policy for your car – but body damage from lightning is not easy to repair.
During thunderstorms, it is best to take shelter in a house, other structure or a tightly covered, completely enclosed vehicle. However, since one of these options may not be available to you, your safety and well-being may depend on knowing the difference between these flash myths and facts.
Myth # 1
- Facts: Lightning often strikes the same spot repeatedly, especially if it is a long, pointed, isolated object. The Empire State Building was once used as a lightning laboratory because it meets almost 25 times a year, and it has been known to have been hit up to a dozen times during a single storm.
Myth # 2 – Lightning strikes only the highest object.
- Facts: Lightning is indiscriminate and can find you anywhere. Lightning can hit the ground instead of a tree, cars instead of nearby telephone poles and parking lots instead of buildings.
Myth # 3 – If you get caught in thunderstorms, it's better than being under a tree.
- Facts: Protecting yourself under a tree is almost the worst thing you can do. If lightning strikes the tree, there is a chance that a "ground charge" will spread from the tree in all directions. Being under a tree is the second biggest cause of lightning.
Myth # 4 – If you do not see rain or clouds, you are safe.
- Facts: Lightning often strikes more than 30 miles from thunder, far beyond the rain or even thunder. Although rare, "bolts from the blue" have been known to hit areas as far away as 100 km from their thunderstorms, where the sky seems clear.
Myth # 5 – A car's rubber tire protects you from lightning
- Facts: It's true that being in a car is likely to protect you. But most vehicles are actually safe because the metal roof and sides lead by lightning around you – rubber tires have little to do with keeping you safe. Convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-scale outdoor vehicles and cars with plastic or fiberglass shells offer no lightning protection at all.
Myth # 6 – If you're out in a storm, lie flat on the ground.
- Facts: Lying flat on the ground makes you more vulnerable to electrocution, not less. Lightning generates potentially deadly electric currents along the ground in all directions – by lying down you give more potential points to your body to strike.
Myth # 7 – If you touch a lightning bolt, you become electric.
- Facts: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid.
Myth # 8 – Wearing metal on your body attracts lightning.
- Facts: The presence of metal makes very little difference in determining where lightning strikes. will strike. Height, pointed shape and insulation are the dominant factors for whether lightning will hit an object (including you). However, touching or being in the vicinity of metal objects, such as a fence, may be unsafe when thunderstorms are nearby. If lightning strikes an area of the fence – even far away – the metal can conduct electricity and electricity.
Myth # 9 – A house will always protect you from lightning.
- Facts: Although a house is the safest place you can be during a storm, it's just enough to go inside. You must avoid leading roads leading outwards, such as electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing, metal doors or metal window frames. Do not stand near a window to watch the flashes. An interior room is generally safe, but a home equipped with a professionally installed lightning protection system is the safest protection available.
Myth # 10 – Surge suppressors can protect a home from lightning.
- Facts: Surge arresters and attenuators are important components of a complete lightning protection system, but can do nothing to protect a structure from direct lightning. These items must be installed together with a lightning protection system to provide protection for the entire house.