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What to avoid when lightning strikes

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 18:49:03-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — As rainy season is alive and well in Florida, lightning strikes again. Although Florida may not be the lightning capital of the world anymore, the worst time for lightning strikes is right around the corner. The National Weather Service says historically, the most lightning-related deaths in Florida have happened in July.

The National Weather Service says the deadliest month for lightning strikes in Florida is just weeks away. Historically, July has had the most lightning-related fatalities in the state.

And, with the 4th of July quickly approaching, more people will be on Southwest Florida beaches. Fox 4 Meteorologist Cindy Preszler says whether you’re going to the beach on the 4th or any other weekend, if you hear thunder, don’t hesitate.

“Get out of the water, get away from the water, get into a sturdy building, with four sides,” she said.

But, if you’re stuck outside, a hard-topped metal vehicle is your next best bet. Make sure you’re pulled over to the side of the road, and you want to avoid touching any metal like door handles and gearshifts.

Eernesto Delhonte of Naples found himself in that situation Monday.


That’s what he heard when lightning struck his Nissan Rogue, damaging the antenna. Luckily he was okay. Preszler warns to avoid parking near metal fences, and says the type of car you’re in, matters, too.

“As long as your car is made out of metal, and not fiberglass…As long as it has a metal roof - not a convertible, and you want to have your windows completely closed, you should be protected if lighting hits your car,” she said.

But, one question remains: how does it protect you?

“When electricity hits your car, it spreads that current throughout the metal, which surrounds your car,” said Preszler. “And then that electricity will run through the tires and into the ground. So, it’s the metal that’s surround your car that protects you, and not the rubber tires.”

That’s called the Faraday cage.

On top of this metal fence and trees, you also want to avoid water at all costs when there’s lightning - that goes for beaches, rivers and other bodies of water. Even when you’re inside, the National Weather Service says avoid taking a shower or bath or doing laundry until after the storm passes.