Local News

Lightning strikes spark protection measures

Posted July 7, 2008 11:07 p.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2008 6:14 a.m. EDT

— With all the severe weather lately, some people might be wondering if they can protect a home from a dangerous lightning bolt.

"Normally lightning will strike the tallest object around,” Darin Figurskey, with the National Weather Service said.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service Office for central North Carolina in Raleigh track lightning strikes.

"In a one-hour time frame, there were nearly 1,200 lightning strikes,” Figurskey said of Sunday's storm in the Triangle.

That is an average of 20 strikes a minute.

"We will see instances, like this, with storms usually on a few occasions during the summer," Figurskey said.

Research is being conducted at the National Weather Center in hopes of better predicting when lightning will strike. Until then, firefighters urge everyone to protect their home from the damage lightning causes.

“We certainly recommend that a fire alarm system be installed in your home if you don't have one, with an emphasis on a heat detection system inside your attic spaces,” said Battalion Chief Peter Brock, with the Raleigh Fire Department.

Lightning is attracted to water, Brock added.

“When there is a lightning storm, we don't recommend people take a shower or a bath. Don't do the laundry or the dishes. Wait until the storm has passed,” Brock said.

Lightning can strike a home without setting a fire. In many cases, electronics are at the greatest risk.

Firefighters recommend unplugging TV's, computers and other electronic devices or get surge protectors.