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Lightning myths and facts to keep you safe in severe weather

Hot and humid summer days can often produce violent thunderstorms. New transmission lines are built with a grounded shield wire along the top of the poles, above the conductors, to protect the line from lightning. Like trees and other tall objects, transmission poles are likely to intercept lightning strikes, but they do not attract lightning.

Lightening-smallHere are a few myths and facts about lightning, courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning. Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch the individual, you’ll be electrocuted. Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give him or her first aid.

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry. Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.