During thunderstorms, the globally approved precaution is to stay indoors, but can you get struck by lightning through a window?
A lightning bolt during a storm can travel at speeds of up to 200,000 miles per second.
It is so fast it would make a window or anything else near it shatter from the heat and speed.
The glass in windows is not a good conductor of electricity. However, you can still be struck by lightning through a window. If you were to be struck by lightning through a window, the glass would have to break first.
The Closed Window
So can you get struck by lightning through a closed window?
Even though it’s possible, the chances of a window being struck directly by lightning are low because glass is an excellent insulator.
If a lightning bolt does hit the roof of a house, it’ll follow the most conductive path to the ground, which will probably pass through the house’s electrical wiring and out one of the outlets.
This could also knock out the power to the rest of the house and cause other electrical damage—and might even shatter some windows indirectly.
Also, note that items near the window get very hot when lightning hits.
A building’s plumbing and telephones act as conductors, or channels, for electricity.
Anyone who uses the telephone or plumbing during a thunderstorm is at risk of being struck by lightning if they are in contact with them.
How to Know Lightning Struck your Home
Lightning strikes are surprisingly common, affecting about 1 in 200 households each year.
Several factors can increase your risk, including proximity to tall structures (light metal poles can have a protective effect), the local climate, and whether your home has electrical wiring inside.
If lightning strikes your house, common indications include:
- A power outage.
- The presence of a fire where there should not be fire.
- A smell of burning plastic or smoke.
- Physical damage to the structure of your property.
A humming or buzzing sound may also be heard.
Lightning strikes in the United States take a significant toll: They kill 20 or more people annually, and hundreds more are injured.
Survivors of lightning strikes often suffer from neurological damage.
How to Stay Safe from Lightning when Indoors
Avoid plumbing during a thunderstorm and take extra precautions to avoid being struck by lightning.
If you need to use the bathroom, try not to be in there during an electrical storm.
Avoid doing any sort of activity that might result in you getting your hair wet—like showering or doing dishes.
You can also cover mirrors, doorknobs, and faucets with aluminum foil in order to prevent static electricity from building up.
Avoid Touching Electronics
When lightning strikes, it travels through conducting objects to get to a grounding source.
If you unplug electronics and appliances, you avoid the risk of these objects being energized by the power surge generated by lightning.
Try to avoid using television, radio, or other electronic equipment that contains transistor-based electronics.
Or, if you must use them, immediately turn off any equipment that emits electromagnetic waves; these waves attract lightning.
However, don't unplug anything as there is a risk you could be struck by lightning.
Close the Blinds
When you hear thunder or see lightning during a thunderstorm, you should close your windows.
You should not only stay off balconies, porches, and open garages but also pull down your blinds.
Strong winds during storms can break windows, and the potential for hail means that additional glass and outside debris can enter your home when your windows are left open.
Avoid Touching Metallic Objects in your Car
When lightning strikes a vehicle, electricity flows through the metal frame into the ground.
You’re probably wondering, can you get struck by lightning through an open window of a car? Yes, it can but it’s very rare
This current cannot travel through a rubber tire, so rubber tires offer no protection from lightning.
However, it is actually the roof and sides of the car that protect you from the electric charge?
In Case of a Strike, Lying Flat Might Not Help
This advice about how to protect yourself from lightning is decades out of date.
A better method for avoiding being hit by lightning is called the ‘Lightning Crouch,’ which involves squatting, placing your hands on the ground, and covering your ears.
It’s also important to be touching the ground as little as possible because it increases your chances of being hit by a ground current.
The best method is to remain low to the ground while not lying directly on it.
This method should only be used as a last resort; avoiding outdoor activities during thunderstorms and having proper shelter are much better choices.
Wait Before Resuming your Activities
Thunder is likely to follow lightning.
Because it may take a while after the lightning for the thunder to occur, wait a minimum of 30 minutes before resuming any activity outdoors.
Wait at least another half an hour after hearing a second clap or rumble to be sure the storm has passed.
When standing on unfamiliar surfaces, always exercise caution.
For example, concrete conducts electricity and could cause an electrical shock if you were to come in contact with it.
Myths about Lightning Strikes
People Who Have Been Struck by Lightning Carry an Electrical Charge.
This isn’t true.
While we don’t store electricity in the same way we store heat within our bodies, some of the damage caused by lightning is due to the involuntary muscle contractions associated with an electrical charge.
That’s why it’s important to give a lightning victim first aid and immediately call 911.
A lightning bolt cannot strike an area if the skies are clear and it is not raining.
It is safest to seek shelter before a thunderstorm arrives because lightning can strike you even if there are no rain clouds in sight.
But it’s a valid question to ask can you get struck by lightning through a window on a clear day with no thunderstorms?
Yes. You do not have to be able to hear the thunder to be struck either; some people are struck while the sky is clear of clouds.
Metals on the Body, Attract Electricity during Storms, Making Them Dangerous.
The highest point in an area, the tendency of an object to point up, and the duration of time that an object has been isolated from surrounding objects all have a bearing on where a lightning bolt will strike.
The presence of metal makes no difference in where lightning strikes. As mountains are made of stone, they receive many strikes each year.
Always take proper protective action as soon as possible when lightning threatens.
Don’t waste too much time shedding your metallic jewelry or seeking shelter below inadequate structures.
Touching long metal objects such as fences or railings when thundercloud activity is still unsafe.
Note: If lightning does strike one of these objects, the electricity can travel through a person for over 100 yards and electrocute them anyway.
If you’re wondering can you get struck by lightning through a window, remember that if you are standing near a window and lightning strikes an object near you, it can travel down that object and strike you/
Thunderstorms create dangerous weather conditions by releasing lightning, a leading weather-related cause of death in the United States.
When thunder roars, go indoors! A lightning strike will travel to the ground within seconds of being observed or sensed by storm clouds.
You would not feel a tingle or any other indication you were being struck.
The electricity would flow through your body and cause cardiac arrest within milliseconds (less than one second), just like flipping a switch.