This is lightning awareness week, and Angela Oder is with the National Weather Service says the best place to find shelter from lightning is in a house or ther “substantial” building.
In that kind of building, even if it’s hit by lightning, the electricity will follow the outer shell of the building or follow gutters or metal wiring or plumbing to the ground where it will safely discharge. She says you also may be safe in a car, because its metal “shell” will carry lightning down to the ground.
Oder says it’s important not to touch any metal parts in the car, and to leave your vehicle turned off. She says you won’t get enough protection from a convertible or other soft-top vehicle. If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, Oder says stay away from trees, or any other tall and isolated objects, as they tend to be struck first.
Oder says if you’re out in the woods stay away from the tall trees, and get under the lowest ones you can. If you’re outside and start feeling your hair stand on end, a sudden surge of static electricity that feels like you’re about to be struck, she advises you crouch down low, cover your head with your arms, and make yourself as small a target as possible.
Some people figure if rubber isn’t a conductor of electricity, they’ll be safe wearing rubber-soled shoes outdoors in a storm, or riding in a car with rubber tires. She says you can still be hit by lightning and those rubber-soled tennis shoes will do nothing to protect you. In a car, it’s not the tires that keep you safe, it’s the metal shell of the vehicle. The best place outdoors remains — getting indoors.