10 things to avoid during a thunderstorm As the rain season approaches in South Africa, thunderstorms become more prevalent and your personal safety is compromised when not managed cautiously. Even though storms are a spectacular phenomenon and magical to view, they are first and foremost, a dangerous phenomenon. Well, this is not to encourage you to panic during one. However, you need to be aware of circumstances, your surroundings and safety. These are 11 things that you should never do in a thunderstorm, or any time there is lightning, no matter how invincible you’re feeling on that day! The chances of getting struck by lightning in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000. It’s a slim chance, but there is still a chance. You don’t want to put yourself at risk even when the odds are in your favour.
1. Talk on the landline While it might be difficult to even find a landline with a wire, you should remember that it’s dangerous to talk on one during a thunderstorm. If your building is hit by a lightning bolt, the electricity will try to find the ground through the quickest possible route, which will be through the electrical wiring.
2. Ignore Hair Standing On End As funny as it sounds, the bottom of the storm is negatively charged, and it looks for positively charged things to transfer the energy to. That’s what the lightning is. If your hair begins to stand on end in a lightning storm, that’s a sign that your positive charge is interacting with the negative charge of the storm. If you notice this happening, get indoors immediately, according to National Geographic. You are at great risk of getting struck by lightning!
3. Take a Shower Or A Bath You should never take a shower or a bath when there is lightning striking outside, as the electrical currents can travel through the pipes in your home, much like the wires through your phone. Just wait until the skies are clear to bathe, according to the New York Times,as even though the chances of getting electrocuted in the shower are very small, is it
really worth the risk?
4. Do the dishes
For the same reason you don’t want to take a shower, you also don’t want to do the
dishes. Touching an electrified faucet can have very dire consequences.
5. Stand near a window
No, you won’t get struck by lightning, but you put yourself at risk of getting struck with a
bunch of shattered glass. As reiterated by WFMZ News, glass is not a good conductor of
electricity, but the force from a strike may very well shatter it.
6. Forget To Find A Flashlight
If the power goes out, you don’t want to be stuck without a source of light at nighttime,
so make sure you always have a flashlight or battery-powered lantern nearby. Especially
if you’re afraid of the dark!
7. Keep Your Laptop Plugged In
If you need to use a computer or an electronic device during a thunderstorm, make sure
that you don’t leave it plugged into the wall. Much like a landline telephone, the
electricity can surge through the power cord and damage your device or even you! For
the same reason, it’s a good idea to refrain from using any appliances or electronics that
need to plug into the wall. Take an opportunity to read a book!
8. Stand near a tree
Standing next to a tree in a thunderstorm is basically begging to be struck by lightning.
Lightning looks for the tallest thing to strike, which is often a tree. If that tree is struck,
the lightning travels through it to the ground.
However, wood is not a great conductor of electricity while you (salt and water) are. The
electric current will opt to use your body as well as the tree truck to travel to the ground,
very possibly killing you and the tree.Don’t stand near trees in a thunderstorm. Don’t do it!
9. Stand Out In The Open
So if you can’t stand next to a tree or out in the open, what are you supposed to do? If
you find yourself stuck outside during a thunderstorm with no hope of getting to cover,
you should crouch down low, touching as little ground as possible. This way, lightning
will hopefully not pick you as a good route to the ground. If it still does, then the current
will most likely not hit your brain or the majority of your spine.
10. Think That You Can Predict Lightning's Behavior
While, yes, there are rules to follow in a thunderstorm, it’s never 100% sure how
lightning will act when it strikes. Following rules and properties of electricity will help
guide you in your decision-making, but there is really no way to know exactly when or
where lightning will strike, or how it will behave once it does strike. This should make
you even more cautious whenever a thunderstorm rolls around.