The Real Truth About Lightning

April 19, 2016

lightning home insuranceThe sunshine of the past few days got us thinking about time outdoors…FINALLY! So we thought now that we don’t have to worry about snow and ice (we hope) what new dangers lurk for us here in the Mohawk Valley weather wise?

How about lightening?

Ever notice how so many of your friends “know” all about lightening and its sometimes bizarre behavior? We have, too, so we visited the National Weather Service website the other day to clear up some popular myths about lightening. Let’s take a look at a few facts about lightening and how you should protect yourself during a storm.

Here we go…

You’ve heard this one before: lightning never strikes the same place twice. Actually, lightning often strikes the same place over and over again, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building gets hit by lightning over 100 times per year.

How about this one: your rubber tires on the car protect you from lightening by insulating you from the ground. Most cars are safe from lightning, but the fact is, it’s the metal roof and sides that actually protect you. So since it’s not the tires, you have no protection in a convertible, three or four-wheeler, motorcycle, or bike.

This one could end in real tragedy: a lightning victim is electrified so if you touch him/her, you’ll be electrocuted, too. This is absolutely false. The human body does not store electricity. It is safe to touch a victim and help them by moving them and administering CPR.

If you’re in your house you are 100% safe from lightning. This is almost true because a house is a safe place to wait out a lightning storm. The thing is, you must avoid anything that conducts electricity. Stay off or away from corded phones (are there any of these left anymore?), electrical appliances, wires, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Lightning has been known to come in cracks in the sides of windows. And, obviously, stay away from open windows during a lightning storm.

Here’s a popular one: Metal on the body such as jewelry, cell phones, watches etc, attract lightning. The truth is that the presence of metal makes no difference on where lightning strikes. The interesting thing is that height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors dictating where a lightning bolt will strike. So instead of wasting time tearing off your jewelry, run to shelter during a thunderstorm instead.

It might seem like lying flat on the ground is the safe thing to do so the lightning doesn’t hit you. But, that’s a myth, too. Problem is, lying flat increases your chance of getting hit by a potentially deadly ground current. Better to run to the nearest shelter than stay where you are.

There are more myths and facts about lightning on the National Weather Service website. In fact there’s so much fascinating stuff there that we suggest you and the kids take a look just for the fun of it. You’ll see Active Alerts, Current Conditions, Forecasts and much more.

As always, be sure to call us if lightning damages your home. We’ll be there for you. So let’s enjoy the change in seasons and keep safe out there!

Until next time,
Your SZW Team

Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.