Lightning Myths

In spite of how common lightning is in Georgia, it’s sometimes difficult to keep our lightning facts straight. Do you go under cover or lie flat on the ground? Can lightning strike you on the phone? And how do you know when it’s time to go indoors?

There are a lot of myths about lightning, but since today is Lightning Safety Day, we are encouraging you to remember one important safety step: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Just remember: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors. Too many people wait far too long to get to a safe place when thunderstorms approach.

Does that seem a little extreme? Keep in mind that lightning is the No. 3 weather-related killer in Georgia, and that lightning bolts can strike as far as 15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Here are a few more lightning-related myths and facts to keep in mind:

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact:  If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, keep moving toward a safe shelter. If that’s not possible, go to the lowest nearby area and make yourself as small a target as possible, but don’t lie flat on the ground.

Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference.

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100 percent safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid.

Find out more about common lightning myths and how to prepare for lightning.