Lightning Thunderstorm Safety Measures

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What Causes Thunder and Lightning?

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Lightning occurs when the clouds acquire an electric charge because of the friction between the particles of clouds and the air. The positive charges accumulate at the upper edge of the cloud and negative charges near the lower edges.

Positive charges accumulate near the earth’s surface also. 

Since air is a poor conductor of electricity and cannot accumulate enough charge, so when too much charge accumulates, air cannot resist its flow. 

Now, these overloaded positive and negative charges meet; their combination produces streaks of light (lightning) and sound (thunder) in the sky because of the static electricity.

What is Thunderstorm?

Thunderstorms contain lightning and thunder. Thunderstorms are rain showers with an explosive noise, which we call thunder.

The meeting of positive and negative charges produce streaks of light known as lightning; this process is known as electric discharge. These streaks of light can be seen on the days of heavy rainfall.

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Lightning occurs because of static electricity. This electric discharge of static electricity can occur between two charged regions of the same cloud, the different clouds, or even between the cloud and the earth.

Thunder is a noise caused by lightning. The clouds that cause thunder and lightning are ‘Cumulonimbus clouds.’ 

We believe that we are safe from lightning when we are indoors; however, a lightning strike can easily destroy your life and affect your property too. So, we need to take safety measures for lightning to avoid these incidents.

Safety Measures During Lightning

If you have seen any building under construction, a metallic rod taller than the building is installed in the building, where one end is buried deep in the earth and the other end is kept open in the air. If you might have seen that, I have an image to remind you of the same, please look at the below picture:

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Can you explain the reason for installing a metallic rod in the building under construction? If not, need not worry, stay on this page to get all the safety measures for thunderstorms with lightning.

Here, a metallic rod works like a lightning conductor. These accumulated electric charges meet together and explode as a streak of light with an explosive sound viz: thunder to the earth’s surface. When they reach the building, the lightning rod behaves as a protective shield or an electrostatic shield, do you know how?

The metallic rod behaves like esophagus here. Just as we swallow the food and excrete the waste, electric charges behave like food, the lightning conductor becomes a food pipe that swallows charge and excretes charges to the ground, where excretion is ‘Grounding’.

Thunderstorm Safety Measures 

It is rightly said that when thunder roars like a lion, don’t become a lion, instead stay indoors, stay safe. However, only staying indoors also doesn’t help, we must follow the underlying protocols even indoors to keep ourselves safe:

  • Avoid water usage during thunderstorms

During lightning, a strengthening shower of charges comes along with the lightning strike. While using water, we may get a powerful electric shock and die because lightning can easily travel along with the plumbing including pipes, baths, sinks, etc. 

  • Avoid electrical equipment or appliances

All the electrical appliances like TV, radio reception systems can easily capture charges showering as streaks. This, in turn, can cause heavy loss of life and property. Better is to avoid their usage during thunderstorms.

  • Avoid Corded Phones

Replace corded phones with cell phones or cordless phones.

  • Avoid touching concrete floors and walls

Without any lightning conductor, charges can easily sway like a wave on the concrete walls, and therefore, touching these walls can destroy your life.

Now, let’s learn how to protect ourselves and our loved ones during a thunderstorm. Being lightning during lightning is not a thing to be taken easy.

Safety Measures During Thunderstorm 

Now, let’s look at the safety measures for thunderstorm when we are outdoor:

  • Plan a trip or journey according to the weather forecast. If in case, thunders start roaring suddenly, find an enclosed shelter nearby, to protect yourself from this life-taking adventure.

  • You can use a 30-30 rule. In this rule, After you see lightning, you start counting till 30.  If in case, you hear thunders before you reach 30, find an indoor for your safety. Also, suspend ongoing vacations or trips.

  • If you do not find a shelter, bend on your knees, bring yourself very close to the ground because lightning causes electric currents above the ground. This lightning can be deadly over 100 ft away.

  • Stay away from a concrete wall because lightning can travel via a metal wire or bars in concrete walls. So, it would be better to have a metallic taller to protect your life and property.

The Final Words

Lightning strikes are rare and dangerous but still they happen to cause a huge risk of serious injury and even death. So, we need to take thunderstorms seriously.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why is it safe to sit inside a car during a thunderstorm?

The outer part of the car is metallic. Since metals are good conductors of electricity and the outer part of a car behaves like a metallic cage that allows charges to run through and fall below the earth’s surface. This is how sitting inside the car is safe during thunderstorms.

2. Why hanging chains are tied at the end of heavily loaded vehicles like petrol tankers.

During thunderstorms, there are high chances of the blast in the tank. What happens here is, when charges accumulate around the body of the oil tank, they pass on to the hanging chain of the tank. 

Now, this chain works as a passage of the charge to the ground. So, all the charge releases to the ground, and therefore, the tanker remains safe during lightning.

3. Is it safe to use the Internet during lightning?

Lightning can affect the skeleton of your house. If you are using any device connected to the wall outlet, then it will be dangerous to your life. However, if you use a wireless device that will be safe to use during thunderstorms.

4. Is lightning warmer than the sun?

Yes, lightning is four times warmer than the sun.