Storms that occur when the seasons change are frequently characterized by the presence of lightning and thunder. This might frighten some individuals since we have all heard stories about how dangerous storms can be and how possible it is that lightning will strike you or someone near you and harm or even kill you.
Is lightning and thunder dangerous, tho? If you want to know how dangerous they truly are, as well as some suggestions to help you be safer in the event of a storm, keep reading and we will tell you all about it.
What are lightning and thunder?
Lightning is a natural electrical discharge that happens in the sky as a result of the accumulation of static electricity during a thunderstorm. Thus, it is one of the natural meteorological phenomena.
However, because lightning is an extremely powerful electrical discharge, when it strikes the earth’s surface instead of traveling across the sky, it may do significant damage. This damage can vary from the loss of architectural features or the ignition of flames to physical or animal injury and can even result in death when a direct lightning strike occurs.
When we talk about thunder, we are talking about the sound created by lightning as it travels. When the energy in the form of plasma that makes up lightning travels (either in the sky or upon collision with the surface), it displaces the air around it at a great speed, producing a rapid and violent sound that we name thunder.
As a result, lightning and thunder always occur at the same moment since lightning causes thunder. Thunder, on the other hand, is absolutely harmless because it is simply a highly powerful sound that can only be used to terrify humans and animals.
Is lightning and thunder dangerous?
As we have shown, thunder is not threatening beyond the terror, worry, or even anxiety that it can cause in humans and animals since it is merely a sound.
On the other hand, lightning, is deadly when it strikes the ground directly if we are in its path. When lightning strikes the earth, several components must be considered, and these are directly proportionate to the damage that can be caused.
To begin with, a lightning strike will not be the same as a direct or indirect strike. That is to say, lightning striking a person immediately in the rain will not be the same as lightning striking him a few meters away.
In the latter situation, the lightning will do harm to the individual, but the damage will be caused by the shock wave rather than by the electrocution itself.
Similarly, if there are electrical insulating devices that prevent lightning and thunder from reaching the earth, they should be considered. In this respect, if we were struck by lightning inside a car, the harm would be far less than if we were in a structure that did conduct electricity, such as a metal bridge or under a tree, because the rubber of the tires does not conduct electricity.
On the other hand, it should be mentioned that lightning rods are installed in most metropolitan locations. Lightning rods are antenna-like devices that attract and discharge lightning to safe ground.
To put it another way, they divert lightning from the sky to the earth to keep it from inflicting damage. Thus, it is somewhat confusing that lightning and thunder may do significant damage in an urban setting, because these are relatively secure environments due to the existence of lightning rods and grounding points in most buildings, particularly the tallest ones.
How to protect against lightning and thunder in rural areas
On the contrary, it is true that lightning from thunderstorms might endanger our safety in areas where lightning rods are not present, or if they are present in small numbers.
However, this does not imply that we should be overly concerned, but rather that we should take some precautionary actions prior to the lightning, which will allow us to be safer and make it more difficult for us to be the target of these electrical discharges.
If we are in a thunderstorm, the first thing we must do is seek safe shelter, that is, refuge beneath a roof. This refers to entering a shelter, whether it is a structure or an automobile, to protect ourselves from the lightning and thunder.
On the other hand, it is critical that we avoid hiding under trees, particularly solitary ones. Because trees are the highest points in the countryside, they operate similarly to lightning rods, making them an obvious target for lightning strikes, as well as us if we take refuge near their trunk.
It is equally critical that we do not function as lightning rods ourselves. Certain items, particularly metallic and elongated ones, can attract lightning. A excellent example would be the ice axes or ice picks used to aid us in our mountaineering and trekking endeavors.
In these instances, it is recommended to keep them in such a way that they do not attract lightning, and above all, do not position them in a pointed form that protrudes from the bag. The same is true for any other object with identical properties, such as the well-known “selfie sticks.”
Another factor to consider is avoiding using electrical equipment that might attract lightning. In this regard, cell phones and watches with Internet connections should be turned off for the duration of the storm to prevent lightning.
Furthermore, it is critical to avoid running on an open field. If we go faster, we will be more vulnerable to lightning strikes on the surface. If you are in rural or rural regions during a storm, seek cover as quickly as possible and, if you cannot locate it, stay laying down or at ground level until the storm passes.