Dangers of lightning have become a hot topic once more, as summer already started in the northern hemisphere. Warm summer weather has brought some rain clouds. And these rain clouds made some lightning shows. Some of us like it because of its visual effects. Some people can’t stand it, because it looks terrifying. And actually these people have a point. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) lightning kills about 43 people each year!
Dangers of lightning striking you
Despite the odds of being struck by lightning are quite small, about 1 in 1.2 million each year, it may have dire consequences. About one out of ten people die because of a lightning strike.
Most often a person dies because of lightning-induced cardiac arrest. It means that all of the energy coming through your body will make your heart shut down. But, there are some cases where a person survives a lightning strike but dies a few days later. This usually happens when lightning does permanent brain damage, and a person is unable to recover. Even people, who do not die in a few days may have varying degrees of disability. Scary stuff, I know…
How to protect yourself
Despite being highly unpredictable, dangers of lightning can be avoided, or at least you can diminish the odds of you being struck.
Lightning is most common in the Midwest and Southeast of the United States. And generally around the equator of the world. So if you are very scared of lightning you can try to avoid such places.
If avoidance is not an option, then you have to be smart. Try to wait out the lightning storm inside. If that’s not possible, avoid open fields like beaches or meadows and single big trees.
You see, in an open field you are the highest object. And the electricity of lightning is looking for the shortest way to the ground. Therefore, you are more likely to attract lightning. If there is no cover nearby, just lay on the ground until the storm passes. Even better if you find a trench.
Big trees on the other hand will protect you from direct lightning, but they are also prone to get struck. And a powerful enough lightning may shatter or even explode the tree itself, not to talk about excessive heat… Ever had a piece of a tree going straight through you? Want to experience that? I don’t think so, therefore, try to avoid such potential hazards.
Dangers of lightning to your electronics
Dangers of lightning applies not only to humans. Electronic devices, especially newer ones have a really low tolerance to static electricity. Furthermore, it is not even necessary for a device to be struck by lightning. It is enough that it is plugged into the electrical outlet of your house!
Let me explain a bit. As mentioned earlier, lightning likes high objects. It just happens that electrical towers are quite high, commonly the highest object in a mile or two. So lightning strikes the electrical line inducing a huge overload. This overload is usually stopped by circuit breakers in one or another place of the electrical grid. But sometimes it just happens that all of these breakers fail ant the energy overload rushes into your house and your electronic device. And fries it if it’s plugged in. Furthermore, there are documented cases that these lightning strikes may produce sparks in various devices within the house. And sometimes it even leads to an extremely rare and very dangerous phenomenon known as ball lightning coming out from the power outlets! On some occasions it may even lead to a fire.
How to protect electronics from the dangers of lightning?
I’m glad you’ve asked. There are various devices in the market that are supposed to protect your house and electronics. However, there is only one 100% effective way. It is to pull out any high value and/or sensitivity device from the power outlet. For example, TVs, computers, smartphones, etc. because otherwise, you may need to look for a new phone.
So there you have it. A brief explanation of the dangers of lightning. Now that you are enlightened, you can safely observe and enjoy the lightning rather than fearing it.