SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Lightning is just one of many parts that make up thunderstorms and can cause destruction as well as injury or death.
With storm season upon us, it is vital to know that any type of storm, whether severe or not, can cause damage to buildings, vehicles, and/or even cause injury or death.
On Tuesday morning some scattered showers and thunderstorms moved through Siouxland bringing some much-needed rain as well as thunder and lightning.
It is important to know that just because severe weather isn’t in the area doesn’t mean thunderstorms, in general, don’t pose a general risk.
With Tuesday morning’s storms, there was a lot of lightning associated with them, from flashes to bolts, some of which stretched down to the ground.
Lightning works in funny ways. It can stretch across the sky like a spider web, or it can stretch down to the ground. When it stretches across the sky it is known as cloud-to-cloud lightning, or CC for short. When it stretches to the ground/surface, it is known as cloud-to-ground lightning, or CG. There is also intra-cloud lightning, or IC, which are just the flashs that can be seen. No bolts are seen with IC lightning.
Sioux City typically sees CG, CC, and/or IC.
One bolt on Tuesday morning struck a house in Sioux City causing a fire to start.
The bolt fried the electrical system within the house when it struck, which caused sparks to ignite, thus causing the fire.
When lightning strikes, whether it’s a residence or an object, it is extremely dangerous and can cause destruction to buildings or even injury or death to people.
It is always important to remember to stay safe during storms and two ways to do that are:
- Seeking shelter in an interior room of a sturdy building, away from windows
- Avoiding contact with electrical equipment
- Avoid contact with water (bathing and/or swimming)
It is also important to know when storms are going to strike because of the electrical equipment. Unplugging important electronic devices like computers, phones, tablets, laptops, etc. can help save those items from getting fried.
If lightning were to strike like it did the house in Sioux City, the electrical currents can travel through the electrical wiring in the house. This can cause a large surge in electricity to the item plugged in, which can cause it to fry, meaning that items will most likely no longer work after that happens.
Those electrical currents can also travel through the pipes and give people a shock if they were swimming or bathing. It is never a good idea to shower, swim, or be around open bodies of water (whether its a pool, lake, river, ocean, etc.) due to the chance that lightning may strike and cause injury or death.
The best way to stay safe is to keep up to day with current weather patterns, know when storms are in the area or are projected to move into the area, and seek shelter.