Lightning is so powerful it can break the structure of homes or cause damage that is difficult to repair. Shock waves that accompany lightning can weaken the foundations of your house a lot. To avoid this, you must know if lightning will strike your house or not.
It is important to know where lightning strikes. It strikes areas that offer a path of least resistance with trees, metal, tall objects, and electric systems around them. Moreover, the signs of thunderstorms should be looked out for, like thunder, low temperature, and dark clouds, to know if lightning will strike.
You can also measure how close the lightning strikes are to your home to take action. For more information, please continue reading.
Lightning is a powerful natural phenomenon that is characterized by electricity. It occurs between the clouds but extends to the air around the cloud and the ground beneath it. The lightning spark occurs between two oppositely charged particles.
The air around the cloud tries to contain the lightning by acting as an insulator, but eventually, the charge gets too high to control and produces a spark of electricity. This then hits the ground and is seen as lightning.
Lightning can be powerful enough to set things on fire and cause other substantial damage to humans, animals, and property. Lightning often occurs in association with thunderstorms and rain.
Where Does Lightning Hit?
When lightning occurs, the lightning chooses a path to strike on. This path is determined by the amount of resistance found on the path. Lightning needs to be grounded as soon as possible so it seeks the path of the least resistance.
Hence, it often hits tall structures, metal objects, trees, and any other electric devices that are not grounded.
To assess if lightning will strike your home, you may want to analyze how many tall structures and trees you have around the house. Moreover, look for metal objects or devices connected to receptors and not grounded.
Old and exposed electrical systems can also make lightning strike your house. Fixing these factors reduces the risk of lightning striking your home.
Signs That Lightning Is Going To Occur
It is important to understand if a thunderstorm is about to occur near your home. It is best to know this beforehand so you can take proactive steps to protect your home.
We have discussed some physical signs below that you may observe when lightning is about to occur.
Lightning is always accompanied by thunder, the loud sound produced by the clouds due to the rapid expansion of air due to heat. If you hear thunder, there is a high likelihood that lightning is occurring in your area.
This is one of the most obvious ways to know that lightning could strike in areas close to your home or home. It is best to take precautions when you hear thunder.
When rain or thunderstorms are approaching, the clouds get very dark and appear gray or black, compared to blue or white. While dark clouds do not always indicate that a thunderstorm will occur, it is best to take the signs and prepare accordingly.
If the dark clouds begin to rumble and roar, that is confirmation that a thunderstorm will occur.
The formation of lightning causes changes in the environment; one of the most noticeable changes is the significant drop in temperature. If a sudden drop is observed, this may mean that a thunderstorm is building up.
You may want to look for further signs like humidity, changes in air pressure, and the color of the clouds to confirm if a thunderstorm is likely to occur near your house.
Measure How Close Lightning Is
If a thunderstorm is ongoing in your area, you can measure how far away the lightning is striking from your home. By measuring this, you can get insight into the proximity of the lightning strikes and assess whether your house is at risk and if lightning strikes it.
To measure this, you can follow the 30-30 rule:
- Equip yourself with a stopwatch, or use the one on your phone.
- Go out and look at the sky for signs of lightning.
- When you see a lightning bolt, start the stopwatch immediately.
- Now pay attention to the sound of thunder.
- As soon as you hear thunder, stop the stopwatch.
- Look at the time.
- If this is lower than 30 seconds, the lightning is in very close proximity to where you are standing.
Protect Your Home From Lightning
Below are some safety measures you may want to consider to protect your home against lightning. Some of these may require monetary investments, but these can be worth it.
- Install lightning rods – Lightning rods are designed to attract lightning and provide a direct path for lightning to follow, safely dissipating the electrical charge into the ground. Professional installation of lightning rods can significantly reduce the risk of lightning-related damage to your home.
- Ground your electrical system – Ensure a licensed electrician properly grounds your home’s electrical system. Grounding helps to divert lightning strikes away from your home and into the ground, reducing the risk of damage to your electrical appliances and systems.
- Trim trees and remove dead branches – Trees close to your home can act as lightning attractors. Trim trees and remove dead branches close to your home to minimize the risk of lightning-related damage.
- Install surge protectors – Use surge protectors for your electrical appliances and systems to help prevent damage from electrical surges caused by lightning strikes.
- Install a lightning protection system – Consider installing a comprehensive one that includes surge protection, grounding, and lightning rods. A professional lightning protection system can completely protect your home against lightning strikes.
As discussed above, the likelihood of lightning striking your home is very low. However, it is crucial to be prepared rather than bear the consequences of such a powerful natural phenomenon. Pay attention to the signs and know if lightning is hitting too close to your home.