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Is it safe to shower during a thunderstorm?

Lightning can travel through plumbing so don't shower or wash hands or dishes during a thunderstorm.



CNN
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Trees begin to sway, the sky darkens and suddenly you hear it – the distant sound of thunder. That’s your cue that potential danger is on the way. In fact, it’s likely within 10 miles of you, according to the National Weather Service.

Don’t ignore that sound, because where there is thunder there is lightning, and lightning can kill or maim in ways you would least expect it. That includes when you are in the shower, tub or even washing dishes.

Since lightning can travel through plumbing, “it is best to avoid all water during a thunderstorm. Do not shower, bathe, wash dishes, or wash your hands,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted.

“The risk of lightning traveling through plumbing might be less with plastic pipes than with metal pipes. However, it is best to avoid any contact with plumbing and running water during a lightning storm to reduce your risk of being struck,” the CDC added.

That’s not the only danger when you’re inside. Stay off porches and balconies, don’t go near windows and doors, and do “NOT lie down on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls,” the agency said.

Also, do “NOT use anything connected to an electrical outlet, such as computers or other electronic equipment,” the CDC said. “Stay off corded phones. Cell phones and cordless phones are safe … if they are not connected to an outlet through a charger.”

A thunderclap happens when lightning strikes, heating the air around the bolt to as high “as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun,” the National Weather Service said. “Immediately after the flash, the air cools and contracts quickly. This rapid expansion and contraction (create) the sound wave that we hear as thunder.”

Lightning can kill in many ways. A direct strike is most often fatal, the CDC said, but injuries such as blunt trauma, skin lesions and burns as well as brain, muscle and eye injuries can occur from touching a car or metal object struck by lightning. The current can also travel through the ground, bounce off a person or object, or even stream up from objects near the ground.

You can calculate the distance between you and the lightning, but do it from a safe place so you…

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