Thunderstorms can be scary—The deluge going strong, the thunder booming, the lightening powering down. It’s no wonder you just want to cower away to a hot, comforting shower.
But don’t do that. In fact, if you had a grandma like mine, you probably remember her telling you to get the heck away from the shower. I always it was a myth that you shouldn’t shower during a thunderstorm, but it’s far from!
In the same way that lightning can shock you if you’re near a metal object during a storm, it can also strike and electricity can travel through pipes and water. And that means, if you’re in the shower during a storm, you’re thoroughly increasing your chance of getting struck by lightening!
During a thunderstorm, you want to steer clear of any activity that involves using water or electricity, such as taking a shower or doing the dishes. In general, you probably don’t want to be near anything in your home that conducts electricity at all.
“You just want to stay away from things that conduct electricity within the home,” said John Jensenius, lightning safety specialist for the National Weather Service. “That would include both the wires and the plumbing, so in that particular case certainly showers would be dangerous, it would be dangerous to be washing your hands or washing dishes. Just avoid those any time you can hear thunder.”
“If you’re at all connected to … anything that plugs into the wall, which could be, for example, a dishwasher or a washing machine that’s plugged into the wall or also has connections to plumbing, that becomes dangerous,” Jensenius said.
Additionally, you want to avoid going outside during a thunderstorm (even to let the dog out). And speaking of your dog, bring them in from their dog house, as those aren’t safe either.
While inside, on top of being away from plumbing and anything plugged in, you also want to make sure you avoid any concrete, windows and doors as well. If you must be outside, find shelter to a vehicle if you can (metal roofs are safe in this instance—just make sure you have the windows up).
Also note that if you have plastic pipes, you’re not in the clear. ” Water can conduct electricity as well,” Jensenius said. “We see that on the outside where lightning strikes something and if there are puddles around, it can easily electrocute somebody nearby the puddle.”
It can also depend on the way in which your house was built. “When a house is built, it should be built so that when your electricity comes in, it’s grounded to your house,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. “If your house is grounded to separate rods that are basically stuck down into the ground, then that’s a bit safer because nothing is attached to the plumbing.”
Be safe out there! Did you know that running water was so dangerous during a thunderstorm? Have you ever caught yourself showering or doing dishes during a storm?