How far can lightning strike from a storm?
Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 24-30. Passing through the air, lightning is 5x hotter than the surface of the sun! There are a lot of myths about lightning. Here’s just a few and the real facts:
Myth: A car’s rubber tire protects you from a lightning strike
- Fact: The metal top and frame protect you from a direct strike. When lightning strikes the car, it wraps around the frame on its way to the ground. The tires have no effect on the lightning. Therefore, golf carts, convertibles, motorcycles, or any open cab vehicle are unsafe during a thunderstorm.
Myth: Any sort of structure/building is safe during a thunderstorm
- Fact: Lightning does not follow an exact path. It can strike vertical, diagonally, and even horizontally. Or if a building is not fully enclosed, you may receive an indirect strike as the lightning makes it’s way to the ground. Safe structures are fully enclosed and have wiring or plumbing. The plumbing/wiring attracts the lightning and keeps it moving towards the ground. That is why you should never use electronics that are plugged in. Also avoid showering or bathing during a thunderstorm. Unsafe structures include car ports, open garages, covered patios, picnic shelters, beach pavilions, golf shelters, tents of any kinds, baseball dugouts, sheds and greenhouses.
Myth: Underneath a tree is safe during a thunderstorm if no structure is available for protection
- Fact: A tree is likely to be one of the tallest points in a field. If lightning does strike the tree, there are many different outcomes. The lightning could travel down the tree with you receiving an indirect hit with the lightning moving out of the tree. Or the lightning can cause a part of the tree to break apart, resulting in you being pinned under a branch or even the tree. You should always take shelter in a car or a fully enclosed structure with plumbing or wiring during a thunderstorm.
Myth: Someone who is struck by lightning carries an electrical charge and should not be handled
- Fact: If someone is struck by lightning, the electrical charge will leave them immediately. Someone struck by lightning should receive medical attention right away. Call 911 and start CPR if necessary.
For more facts and tips on lightning, check out the National Weather Service Lightning Safety page.
Posted under Weather
This post was written by firstname.lastname@example.org on June 24, 2012