Things You Better Not Do During a Texas Thunderstorm
We're in Texas thunderstorm season.
Rumbles of thunder are a frequent fact of life for those of us who live in Texas. Texas is consistently one of the top five states for lightning fatalities each year. Tornados and damaging hail get a lot of press in Texas, but lightning is the most deadly weather phenomenon in the state.
Whenever you are outside during a lightning storm, you should go inside if possible. Cars, or a sturdy building are recommended. Even while inside you are not 100% safe.
In fact, my mom had a whole dictionary of things you shouldn't do during a thunderstorm. I always thought she was a bit crazy. Learning more about the dangers of lightning, I realize she may have been right.
Here are some of the things we often hear are unsafe to do during lightning storms, even while inside and the truth about the dangers.
1. You Shouldn't Wash Dishes, Sit on the Toilet, or take a shower during thunderstorms:
This is true. In 2014. a man in North Carolina named Charles Riggs was taking a shower at his home in Raleigh during a thunderstorm. The lightening traveled through the plumbing and into the shower causing burns and other injuries.
In 2022 a toilet in Oklahoma was destroyed by lightning. No one was sitting on it at the time. This incident is not believed to have been caused by lightning entering through plumbing pipes, but through the exhaust fan in the ceiling.
2. Stay off the computer during thunderstorms:
This is true, although it is not likely you would be directly affected by lightning while using a computer indoors during a storm. Components of the computer you are likely to touch such as the keyboard and mouse are made of materials that are not conductors of electricity, like plastics. According to pcfixit, the best way to avoid any chances of electric shock while using a computer would be to go completely wireless.
Lightning can travel through electric wires or internet cable connections and destroy your computer.
Headphones with wires can also be very dangerous during thunderstorms.
3. Stay off landline phones.
True. According to Snopes until mobile phones became popular, one person per year on average was killed in the United States by lightning while using a landline. One example occurred in 1985, a lightning strike caused the death of 17-year old Jason Findley of Piscataway, New Jersey.
4. Mobile phones are also dangerous during lightning storms.
False. Mobile phones are perfectly safe because there is no wire through which the electrical discharge can travel. The belief that lightning can follow the radio waves into your phone is completely unfounded.
Electrical appliances can be hit by lightning and it can travel through windows, so it is also a good idea to avoid them during storms.
Thunderstorms and lightning can be deadly. It is always a good idea to be safe and not sorry.