The UK Met Office has issued several “yellow thunderstorm warnings” for the country, highlighting the potential for frequent lightning. While the chance of getting struck by lightning is low, it’s important to know how to stay safe during a thunderstorm. Globally, about 24,000 people each year are killed by lightning and another 240,000 are injured.
Most people are familiar with basic thunderstorm safety, such as avoiding standing under trees or near a window, and not speaking on a corded phone (mobile phones are safe). But did you know you should avoid taking a shower, a bath or washing the dishes during a thunderstorm?
To understand why, you first need to know a bit about how thunderstorms and lightning work.
Two basic elements cause a thunderstorm to thrive: moisture and rising warm air, which of course go hand in hand with summertime. The high temperatures and humidity create large amounts of moist air that rises into the atmosphere, where it can form into a thunderstorm.
Clouds contain millions of water and ice droplets and the interaction of these is what leads to lightning generation. The rising water drops collide with the falling ice drops, passing them a negative charge and leaving themselves with a positive charge. In a thunderstorm, clouds act as enormous Van…