As lightning strikes Modesto area, here’s why you shouldn’t shower plus other safety tips

A thunderstorm came Modesto’s way Wednesday afternoon, bringing with it more showers and wind gusts as high as 18 mph.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chelsea Peters said there is one cell in the area that has a lightning cloud pulse.

“Thunderstorm chances really haven’t panned out that great so far today, so, losing confidence,” Peters said just 30 minutes before the storm hit Wednesday afternoon. “(The one cell) is just north of Modesto.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines and suggestions for how to stay safe, including not showering.

If you’re caught outside

Peters said some of the showers Wednesday afternoon leading into the evening are potentially going to have some embedded lightning strikes.

If you’re outside when lightning is near, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not lie on the ground. Lightning causes currents along the surface that can injure more than 100 feet away.

  • Do not take cover under a tree, which may be struck by a bolt.

  • If there are no safe shelters in sight, crouch down in a ball-like position: put your feet together, squat low, tuck your head and cover your ears.

  • Get inside as soon as possible.

If you do make it inside, there are still precautions the CDC says you should take.

How to stay safe inside

While Peters said conditions in Modesto should settle by 7 p.m., here’s what not to do if you find yourself at home during the possible lightning strikes:

  • Don’t take a shower in a thunderstorm. That’s right. The government agency said lightning can travel through plumbing, so it’s best to not bathe, wash dishes, or wash your hands. While it sounds far-fetched, the Daily Mail reported in February 2018 that an Australian man was seriously injured when showering after his home was struck by a lightning bolt. He was rushed to a hospital and survived.

  • Stay away from windows and doors, where the risk from lightning is higher.

  • Avoid electrical devices if they are plugged in to a wall outlet. That includes televisions and computers.

  • If you are going to make a phone call, use a cell phone, and not a land line connected to a cord.

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