Soon you hear it – the distant sound of thunder. As trees sway and the sky darkens, you can hear it clearly. That’s a sign that danger may be approaching. According to the National Weather Service, it’s likely within 10 miles of you. Therefore, you will want to steer clear as much as you can.
That is because lightning can kill or maim you in ways you wouldn’t expect when thunder roars. Don’t ignore that sound. Showering, bathing, and even washing dishes fall under this category. It is best to wait to do those things when the thunder is out of your area when it is safer. It is best to wait until it stops raining altogether because even if the thunder is far away from you, it can still be a problem.
Keep Away From Plumbing During A Thunderstorm
During a thunderstorm, it is best to avoid all water since lightning can travel through plumbing. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not bathing, showering, washing dishes, or washing hands.
Plastic pipes may be less susceptible to lightning damage than metal pipes. During a lightning storm, you should avoid contact with plumbing and running water to reduce your risk of being struck.
You’re not the only one at risk inside. You should stay away from porches and balconies, not go near windows or doors, and not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
Also, avoid using any electrical equipment, such as computers and other electronic devices, according to the CDC. Make sure you don’t use corded phones. A cell phone or cordless phone is safe if it is not connected to an outlet through a charger.
Lightning Is Hotter Than The Sun’s Surface
During a thunderclap, lightning strikes, heating the air around the bolt to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, five times hotter than the surface of the sun. The air quickly cools and contracts after the flash. Thunder is a sound wave created by rapid expansion and contraction.”
There are many ways in which lightning can kill. Touching a car or metal object struck by lightning can cause injuries including blunt trauma, skin lesions, and burns, as well as brain, muscle, and eye injuries, according to the CDC. Objects near the ground can also conduct the current, or the current can travel through the ground.
If you want to calculate the distance between you and the lightning, do it from a place where you won’t be struck by it, the weather service advises.
“Divide the time between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder by 5, with five seconds equaling one mile, 15 seconds equaling three miles, and zero seconds very close,” according to the service.
Deaths and injuries are most common when people are outside, particularly during the summer months. The number of people struck by lightning each year is 180, and 10% of the people who are struck by lightning die. Outside workers, particularly in the Southeast, are most at risk. Lighting-related deaths are most common in Florida and Texas, according to the CDC.
In case of an emergency outside, do not lie on the ground. Thousands of feet away, lightning can cause electric currents that can be deadly. You should get inside a safe location because there is no safety outside,” the CDC advised.
Avoid being near or under tall trees, as they will increase your risk of being struck by lightning. Put your feet together, squat low, tuck your head and cover your ears if there are no safe shelters nearby. However, this is the last resort. The first thing you should do is to seek safe shelter.”