Surviving the Storm: What to Do During a Bad Lightning Storm
What do you do during a bad lightning storm?
Lightning is a fascinating yet dangerous force of nature.
While it can be a captivating sight to behold from a safe distance, a bad lightning storm can pose significant risks to both life and property.
As professional electricians, we understand the importance of electrical safety, especially during storms.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what to do during a bad lightning storm to protect yourself, your home, and your electrical systems.*
Before diving into safety measures, let’s briefly understand what lightning is and how it works. Lightning is a massive discharge of electricity that occurs during a thunderstorm. It’s caused by the buildup of static electricity within storm clouds.
When the electrical charge becomes too great, it seeks a path to discharge, often through the shortest route to the ground—this is what we see as lightning. Lightning is incredibly hot, reaching temperatures of up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,760 degrees Celsius), making it a destructive force.
The most critical safety tip during a lightning storm is to stay indoors.
Do not venture outside, and avoid any form of contact with water, as it conducts electricity. Lightning can strike the ground or objects near you, creating a deadly risk if you are exposed.
Avoid Electrical Appliances
While you’re indoors, refrain from using electrical appliances and devices. Lightning can cause power surges that may damage or destroy electronic equipment.
Unplug sensitive devices like computers, televisions, and appliances to prevent potential damage. If you have surge protectors, they can provide an added layer of protection.
Steer Clear of Plumbing
Avoid using plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, and bathtubs during a storm. Lightning can travel through pipes and cause electrical shocks.
Wait until the storm has passed before using water-based appliances or fixtures.
Stay Away from Windows
Lightning can strike homes and buildings, often traveling through windows. To stay safe, avoid standing near windows or glass doors during a storm.
Flying debris from a lightning strike can also shatter windows.
Seek Shelter in a Safe Area
If you are outdoors when a lightning storm strikes, seek shelter immediately. Ideally, find a substantial, enclosed building or a hard-topped metal vehicle.
Never take shelter under trees, as they can attract lightning strikes.
Don’t Touch Anything Conductive
While indoors, avoid touching conductive materials that may be connected to the exterior of your home.
This includes plumbing pipes, electrical wiring, and corded telephones. Lightning can travel through these conductive paths and pose a risk.
Before the storm hits, stay informed about weather conditions by using a weather radio or smartphone app.
Many weather apps provide real-time lightning strike data, allowing you to track the storm’s progress and make informed decisions about your safety.
Have a Lightning Protection System
Consider installing a lightning protection system for your home. These systems include lightning rods, grounding systems, and surge protection devices.
While they won’t prevent lightning strikes, they can redirect the electrical energy safely to the ground, reducing the risk of fire or structural damage.
Wait for the All-Clear
After the storm has passed, wait for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before venturing outside.
Lightning can strike even after the rain has stopped, so exercise caution until you are certain it’s safe.
Check Electrical Systems
Once the storm has passed and it’s safe to do so, inspect your home’s electrical systems. Look for signs of damage, such as burnt outlets or switches, flickering lights, or unusual odors.
If you suspect any electrical damage, contact a professional electrician to assess and repair the issues.
Final Thoughts on What to Do During a Bad Lightning Storm
A bad lightning storm can be a powerful and destructive force of nature.
By understanding the risks and following these safety tips, you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property from the dangers of lightning.
Remember, safety should always be your top priority during severe weather events. If you have concerns about your home’s electrical system following a storm, don’t hesitate to contact a professional electrician to ensure that everything is in working order and free from damage. Your safety and peace of mind are worth the investment. Stay safe!