How lightning can strike even when you’re inside
NASHVILLE, TN (WKRN) – “When the thunder rumbles, go inside” is a phrase you may have heard, but the adage isn’t foolproof advice, experts say. While being indoors is the safest option during a thunderstorm, that doesn’t mean lightning isn’t a threat inside the home.
During severe thunderstorms over parts of Tennessee last weekend, man was reportedly struck by lightning through his video controller while at home. But how does this happen?
“Sometimes when your house, you know, is directly struck by lightning, you can feel something called electric arcs,” says Krissy Hurley, meteorologist responsible for coordinating warnings at the National Weather Service Office in Nashville.
The arc is where lightning strikes a TV or other electronic boards, and there is enough electricity for it to turn off and travel to other electronic devices. It is this phenomenon which is probably responsible for the shock the man received on Saturday. “And so in this case, that could be what happened, where, you know, the television, the game console system got the initial love at first sight, then the arc got the game controller.” Hurley said.
The man from Greenbrier, Tennessee, suffered no injuries, but it’s important to note that such lightning strikes – inside homes or vehicles – can be more common than you might think. According to the CDC, just over a third of all lightning injuries occur indoors.
“Usually you are safe in your vehicle in the event of a lightning strike,” said Hurley, adding that there are times when you could be in danger. “If you charge your phone, and maybe you have this phone resting on your lap, there are documented cases where people have been struck by lightning because their cell phone was charging in their car and their car was struck by lightning. “
Even when you are indoors, you should take precautions when lightning is present. “Because even if you think you’re safe, you’re under the roof, that lightning can come back and hit you.” So, you know, stay away from windows, stay away from electronics, and make sure you have four walls and a roof over your head.