5 Things You Should Never Do In A Severe Thunderstorm
With severe thunderstorms this morning taking out the Oxford County Regional Communications Center, we thought it was a good time to remember a few activities you should avoid when the skies start to rumble.
When I was a kid, my Mom didn't want my brothers and me to be afraid of thunderstorms, so she sat us on the floor, in front of the picture window, and let us watch the light show. (We were a safe distance from the glass) To this day, I love watching lightning and counting the seconds between the flash and the rumble. But working with electronics everyday, I also have a healthy respect for thundershowers, and try to remember how a fun storm to watch could turn into a very bad day in a blink of an eye. (or rather, a flash of lightning!) So here are a few reminders about how to avoid having the day turn to the dark side.
It's hard to believe anyone wouldn't be able to figure this one out for themselves, but for the few, hearty souls who think they can weather the storm and finish the game - don't. That golf club is basically a lightning rod. I mean, it's long and thin and made of metal...like a lightning rod! And when you raise it in the back swing, you're daring Thor to strike it down.
There are two reasons for shutting down your electronics and appliances during thunderstorms. First, it protects you from getting shocked if lightning should hit the electrical line feeding that device. And second, it protects the device from being destroyed by an electrical surge. Your Mom was right when she told you to unplug the television during a bad storm. So shut down the TV and computers and grab a book until the storm passes!
My family quietly shook our heads for years at my Grandfather's warnings about using the phone during a thunderstorm. I mean, really, they'd protect against any damage from lightning strikes, right? Then one day, after a visit to Brewer, he returned home to Washburn to find his phone blown across the room! We had crow for dinner that night and never doubted him again. Lightning will strike utility poles, and that current can travel the lines and into your house...and your ear. Yikes!
We've all been in the pool when there's a rumble of thunder and the lifeguards blow their whistles. 'Everyone out of the pool!' But that's not the only water-related activity you should avoid. City water pipes are metal and are great conductors of electricity, so it's probably best not to take a shower during a storm, or do a load of laundry. Again, what a great excuse to grab a book and relax. The laundry can wait!
The first thing most of us do when it rains is seek shelter, even if it's just a roof that will shield us from the damp. But, if you find yourself in an open area, that tree at one end of the field is not the best place to stand. Sure,it will keep the rain off your head, but lightning is attracted to the highest point, like the tree you're standing under. So, in a case like this, it's probably best not to sweat the storm, but rather to dance in the rain!