Storms and lightnings are exciting meteorological phenomena, but it is necessary to be forewarned, since they have a high mortality and accident rate. Given this, the most important tihng is to be very well informed. Therefore, below we share some myths and realities related to this phenomenon.
“If it does not rain on our heads, we are safe from the impact of lightning”
Many of us believe that cloud-to-ground lightning are vertical. This is because they “search” high areas, isolated or with pointed forms. Therefore, skyscrapers and large buildings, such as Empire State Building or Eiffel Tower, receive about 100 impacts per year.
“The tires of the cars protect us from the impact of lightning”
It is very difficult for lightning to hit a vehicle due to its rounded shapes and without any protrusion. But, if this happens, it would be the bodywork that would protec us from this impact. This is because the metal acts like a Faraday Cage and drives the beam through the outside of the vehicle until it reaches the ground. The same goes for airplanes.
“Metallic structures and objects attract lightning”
The lightnings usually impact in high areas, isolated or with pointed forms. But, the material or the presence of metals does not determine the point of impact. However, metal conducts electricity. Therefore, it is advisable to stay away from fences, train tracks, etc.
“Inside the ouse we are safe from electric shocks”
Even if we are inside our home, every precaution is small. Therefore, it is very important to avoid certain actions during the storm such as washing the dishes, using the landline and the computer or watching television. This is because the pipes and light cables are excellent conductors. Therefore, if a lightning discharges and you are in contact with any of these devices, this discharge can reach you.
“If you are in the open, and a storm surprises you, you should lie on the ground or take shelter under a tree”
The firs thing we can do, and more important, is to find a safe refuge, avoiding shelter under a tree. The trees are usually tall and pointed, also stand out over the rest of the vegetation. Therefore, takin shelter under a tree is one of the main reasons for death by lightning strike.
Second, lying down increases the likelihood of a lightning hitting us, as the current travels through the ground. Therefore, the best way to act, if there is no place nearby to shelter during the storm, is to squat with your feet together and your head down between your legs. Cover your ears and eyes and wait for the storm to pass.
“We should not touch a person affected by lightning because it is electrified”
When a lightning hits a person, the electric shock does not stay in his body. Moreover, we must immediately attend to the injured while we wait the arrival of medical assistance.