Wilmington experts explain lightning myths - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Wilmington experts explain lightning myths

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Regardless of the myths, safety officials agreed preparedness and proactive actions will help you avoid the heat and stay safe. Regardless of the myths, safety officials agreed preparedness and proactive actions will help you avoid the heat and stay safe.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

A lightning strike can change your life in a flash.

"During the months of June, July, and August, we see a rise in thunderstorm activity," Wilmington Fire Department spokesman Randy Burton said. "That's just a summer time thing. And, unfortunately a lot of residences and a lot of businesses are struck by lightning because of that."

When lightning strikes, it can spark a fire in the most obscure places in your home.

"They normally start in void spaces, in walls, attics, and crawl spaces, where fires normally don't start," Burton said. "And, they're tough for [firefighters] to get to sometimes. "

But, in the heat of the moment, can you determine fact from fiction?

"People say lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place. That's fiction. It does," Burton explained.

One myth claimed you're only at risk of lightning strikes when it's raining, but National Weather Service representative Steven Pfaff said it's only a myth.

"It might not be raining where you're at, but lightning can carry itself away from the thunderstorm and bolt out of the blue basically and strike you outside with storms nearby," Pfaff explained.

Another myth claims people are safe from lightning strikes if they stay indoors, but Pfaff said that's not always the case.

"You don't want to be talking on the phone or in the shower because if the house gets struck and the lightning travels through the plumbing, you can get hurt that way," Pfaff explained.

Perhaps the most prevalent myth says the tires on your car will protect you from getting struck.

"That's partially true," Pfaff said. "If lightning directly strikes your car, what actually keeps you safe is the metal chassis that creates the eggshell around your car. That will disperse the charge and you're grounded by the tires."

Regardless of the myths, safety officials agreed preparedness and proactive actions will help you avoid the heat and stay safe.

"Most people, who are struck by lightning, wait too long," Pfaff said. "They're going to that point of safety from what they're doing outside, but they wait till the storm is on top of them. Unfortunately, that's just too much time that's wasted."

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