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‘Lightning can’t strike twice’ and other lightning myths

Find out what the science says.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In 2020, lightning killed more than 17 people across the country, and on average has killed over 20 to 30 people each year before that. 

Meteorologists have used the phrase “when thunder roars, go indoors” many times, and for good reason. That’s because no space outside is truly safe during thunderstorms. 

Here are some lightning myths you should know about: 

It’s common knowledge by now that hiding under a tree is a no-go during a thunderstorm. 

If someone ever has the misfortune of being electrocuted, don’t worry about electrocuting yourself by touching them. The body does not store electric charges after being struck by lightning, so aid the person as needed. 

Another common myth: Lightning never strikes twice in one place. That is false. 

It happens many times, especially with tall buildings or skyscrapersThe Empire State Building, for an example, is hit over 20 times a year by lightning. 

Growing up, you’ve probably been told to turn off or unplug devices during a thunderstorm and not take shower because you could get electrocuted. 

Strangely enough, its possible in rare cases for one to get electrocuted when taking a shower. 

Even the CDC has a section covering severe weather where they highlight that you should avoid taking showers or doing the dishes during a storm. The reason for that is lightning can travel through the plumbing. 

Don’t let these facts shock you! If you’re mindful of any thunderstorms in the vicinity, your odds of being struck usually stand at about 1 and 500,000.