According to weather.com, lightning can enter a building via (1) a direct strike, (2) through pipes or wires that extend outside, and (3) through the ground.
No matter how lightning enters, once it’s inside, it can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
To stay safe inside during a thunderstorm:
- If you have a landline, stay off the phone. Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States, according to the National Weather Service.
- Unplug electrical devices, such as computers, stereo equipment and game consoles. Lightning can travel long distances in both phone and electrical wires, particularly in rural areas. The electrical surge can damage these items.
- Stay away from doors and windows. Lightning from a direct strike can enter through these portals.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, or wash dishes.
- Don’t do laundry during a storm. Washers and dryers have contacts with the plumbing and electrical systems. They also contain an electrical path to the outside through the dryer vent.
- Do not sit or stand on the concrete floor of a garage. Most are made with wire mesh, which will conduct electricity. Basements generally are safe.
If you suspect lightning damage after a storm and need assistance determining the extent of the damage, AmeriSpec can help. Call us at 402-393-3696 in Omaha or 402-483-2010 in Lincoln.
- On June 27, 2014