Environmental Science

Is It Safe to Have a Bath during a Thunderstorm?

Is It Safe to Have a Bath during a Thunderstorm?

Have you ever had a caregiver shout at you to get out of the bath during a thunderstorm? Is it true that it is a deadly activity, or is it just an urban legend? Well, it appears that there is a hazard — and it is far more serious than you may imagine. What occurs when a thunderstorm strikes? To begin with, a thunderstorm forms when the atmosphere becomes unstable. Lightning is an electrical flash that happens between the earth, clouds, and air, according to the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. 

When lightning strikes, the air between the negative and positive charges in the clouds, as well as between the cloud and the earth, serves as an insulator. The air insulation fails when the opposing charges build up, resulting in a quick discharge of electricity known as lightning. Nature’s approach of momentarily equalizing the charged areas of the atmosphere is the flash you see in the stormy sky. Until the charges dissipate, this cycle will continue. The thunder’s booming roar is caused by lightning. 

The lightning channel’s energy warms the air to roughly 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, causing it to erupt outward. The sound of thunder is created when the pressure in the atmosphere drops fast. A channel forms towards the surface when a lightning strike is going to occur on the ground. Tall objects will start firing sparks to meet it when it is less than a hundred yards from the earth. When a single spark connects to the downward channel, a massive electrical current is sent down to the source of the spark.

How may lightning harm someone? Lightning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can inflict a variety of injuries, each with its own mortality risk. Typically, 10% of those struck by lightning die, most commonly from a heart attack. A direct hit is frequently lethal. Contact strikes (victim is touching a lightning-struck object), side flash (lightning bounces off an object and onto the victim), and ground current strikes are less lethal (lightning strikes the ground nearby and the current passes from the impact point, through the ground, to the victim). Thunder can also result significant injuries such as eardrum bursts or damage if the victim falls.

Is being in a shower during a thunderstorm dangerous? You are unlikely to get hit by a direct strike unless you are sitting in a bathtub outside or showering in the rain. The most serious issue is if lightning strikes a house directly, as plumbing and other metal may act as a conductor for electrical energy. Lightning usually takes the path of least resistance, which is usually through cables and pipes. As a result, it has the potential to travel through the pipes and impact you when showering. Water may conduct electrical currents in addition to metal as a conduit. This implies that if you’re in the shower or bath, electricity might pass through the pipes and into the water, destroying your nice bubble bath.

This is reflected in CDC recommendations, which recommends staying out of the shower and away from plumbing during a rainstorm. They also recommend avoiding dishwashing, which is a terrific way to avoid that dreaded duty. Because lightning may strike 4.8 to 16 kilometers (3 to 10 miles) distant from the parent storm, it is widely assumed that if you hear thunder, you are close enough for lightning to reach your position. It’s usually safe to get the bubble bath and candles out 30 minutes after the last thunder, because storms prefer to save up one major lightning strike so they can (literally) go out with a boom.