Did you think that you were safe from lightning strikes while you’re indoors, paying for your groceries? Apparently not. A woman standing in line at a Louisiana supermarket was struck by lightning, a baffling event that a meteorologist called “one-in-a-million.” She ended up in the hospital, and business went on as usual in the store.
How does something like that even happen? According to a National Weather Service meteorologist that the local paper contacted, it’s possible for a lightning strike on the store building to pass through its electrical system and zap you. It’s rare, but does happen. Evidently.
The incident left a blackened floor tile on the spot where the customer had stood, but otherwise didn’t disrupt commerce. She survived the strike without serious injury.
Yes, it is possible for lightning to hurt or kill people indoors. It can get inside by striking a building directly, through electrical wiring or pipes that happen to be outdoors, or through the ground.
The National Weather Service has guidelines for avoiding lightning strikes while indoors, even in what you think is a safe shelter. Their recommendations:
- Stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones.
- Don’t touch electrical equipment or cords.
- Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.