When Lightning Strikes!

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Published in

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Did you know that Malaysia has one of the highest records of lightning strikes amongst the countries in the world?

Being close to the Equator, we are prone to lightning and thunderstorms all year round. In fact, the Malaysian Meteorological Department recorded more than 300 days of lightning in a year in certain parts of the country!

So what are the chances of anyone staying in Malaysia getting struck by lightning? I don't have the numbers with me, but I would say the chances are much higher than winning a lottery!


Photo courtesy of xmwallpapers.com

I have seen many people jogging outside in the rain and even in thunderstorms. I have also seen many children playing football in the open field during lightning and thunderstorms. What were these people thinking? Aren't they aware of the dangers of lightning?

So today, let's do a short quiz and see how much you know about lightning prevention. Just answer TRUE or FALSE. Ready? Here goes...

1. It is safe to use an umbrella in a lightning storm.

2. It is safer to take shelter under a tree rather than stay in the open during a lightning storm.

3. The car is one of the safest place to be in a thunderstorm.

4. If you see dark thunder clouds gathering over the horizon while in the open, you are at risk from being struck by lightning.

5. You are safe from being struck by lightning if you can hear the thunder but not see the lightning.

6. You only need to run for shelter when it rains as lightning occurs during the rain.

7. It is safe to use the mobile phone in a thunderstorm.

8. If you are caught in a thunderstorm outside, try to stay dry as the chances of getting struck by lightning is lower when you are dry.

9. Lying flat on the ground is the best position to take in the open field during a lightning storm.

10. It is safe to go out in the open once you are sure there is no more lightning and thunder.

Well, how did you do? Scroll down for the answers.





















1. It is safe to use an umbrella in a lightning storm - FALSE
An umbrella is an easy target for lightning. Especially umbrellas with spiky tops.

2. It is safer to take shelter under a tree rather than stay in the open during a lightning storm - FALSE
Lightning tends to strike tall objects, and trees are one of them. Therefore, never take shelter under a tree during lightning storm. It is probably better to stay out in the open away from trees and tall objects like poles and lamp posts.

3. The car is one of the safest place to be in a thunderstorm - TRUE
A car with a metal roof conducts electricity and brings it down to earth. Make sure not to touch any metal objects in the car and keep the windows rolled up. Of course, the safest place is still inside a concrete building.

4. If you see dark thunder clouds gathering over the horizon while in the open, you are at risk from being struck by lightning - TRUE
Lightning has been known to strike up to 10 miles from a storm, so even if the dark clouds are not above you at the moment, you are still in danger of being struck by lightning. Stop all acivities and seek shelter once you see dark clouds looming on the horizon.

5. You are safe from being struck by lightning if you can hear the thunder but not see the lightning - FALSE
Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from a storm, so even if you don't notice the lightning, you may be within the lightning strike. Once you see the lightning, it may already be too late. Start looking for shelter when you hear the thunder.

6. You only need to run for shelter when it rains as lightning occurs during the rain - FALSE
Lightning often occurs before the rain falls, so do not wait for the rain to fall before you act.

7. It is safe to use the mobile phone in a thunderstorm - TRUE
As long as you are not out in the open, it is generally safe to use the mobile phone in a thunderstorm. Do not use land-line phones, any plugged-in electrical appliances, plumbing fixtures or anything that conducts electricity in a thunderstorm. As such, do not take a shower or touch any metallic object like door knobs and even taps in the house or building.

8. If you are caught in a thunderstorm outside, try to stay dry as the chances of getting struck by lightning is lower when you are dry - FALSE
Get yourself wet in a thunderstorm! Wet clothing helps to reduce serious injuries to the lightning struck person. Let the current flow over you instead of inside you.

9. Lying flat on the ground is the best position to take in the open field during a lightning storm - FALSE
It is dangerous to touch the ground as all lightnings are grounded. Instead, the best position is to squat down with your feet together, your head tucked to your chest or between the knees, your hands covering your ears or flat on your knees. This will minimise injury as the lightning will flow over your body instead of through vital organs.

10. It is safe to go out in the open once you are sure there is no more lightning and thunder - FALSE
Stay inside your shelter until about 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard. Lightning can still happen within that time frame.

For more information on how to protect yourself from lightning, read wikihow.

FIRST COMMENTER

(52) Comments

  1. Mei Teng said...

    I have to admit I am kinda afraid of the loud crashing sound when the lightning strikes. That white line that flashes can be quite intimidating. Don't stand out in the open field when there are flashes of lightning.

    March 18, 2009 at 8:19 AM
  2. Mei Teng said...

    My grandma used to say not to turn on the tap at the kitchen sink (near any window) and stand there when there are flashes of lightning. She says lightning may strike the person. Anyone know if this is true?

    March 18, 2009 at 8:22 AM
  3. -eiling- said...

    I just know that when lightning strikes, stay at home and hide under a blanket!

    March 18, 2009 at 9:43 AM
  4. DC said...

    Good tips!

    March 18, 2009 at 9:47 AM
  5. GAGAY said...

    great post foong!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 10:10 AM
  6. GAGAY said...

    i still didn't make it to be yer FC!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 10:11 AM
  7. GAGAY said...

    i dunno when can i be FC here!!! *cry* for me!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 10:12 AM
  8. julian said...

    I like the big thunderstorms, but after trying your quiz, I think I may not survive one out in the open! lol

    March 18, 2009 at 10:21 AM
  9. Gallivanter said...

    I only know the car part - it is the most safest place to be - cause I saw a documentary on it.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:24 AM
  10. nic said...

    that's informative.. and btw im one of those who jogs in the rain :p... wish me luck!

    March 18, 2009 at 11:11 AM
  11. Nick Phillips said...

    Just like Gallivanter, I only know the car part too ... LOL!

    But I must show my kids this post cos those two just don't know how dangerous lightning is and are forever taking their time to come back from the park when there is thunder!

    March 18, 2009 at 11:24 AM
  12. Lisalicious said...

    i dun think it is such a good idea to go out nowadays when lighting strikes....

    it is very dangerous

    i heard few cases in Malaysia where people got strike before..as well as...striking a power station that causes the whole area black out ...

    March 18, 2009 at 11:39 AM
  13. TZ said...

    Dude, Malaysia has the highest lightning strikes but unfortunately until today I still could not get any lighting strikes picture ... sigh~

    I got one lightning strike picture @ Arizona... :p

    March 18, 2009 at 12:07 PM
  14. lina said...

    One of my colleague lost his teenage son who got struck by a lightning while training for a football match. Scary.

    By the way, my ghost story is up. If any of those spirits came visit me, I tell them to look for you! *Touch wood* LOL

    March 18, 2009 at 1:38 PM
  15. HappySurfer said...

    Great tips, Foong. Thanks. I especially like tip #7.

    A friend lost two tv sets being struck by lightning. I was told that if it happens once, it may happen again if the tv location is not changed.

    I believe death by lightning is predetermined but of course it doesn't mean that we don't have to take precautions.

    I heard that lightning striking a home (that is, when the roof gets blown off) normally means that the lightning is getting rid of spirits in the home. I guess that is a good thing. No?

    March 18, 2009 at 1:50 PM
  16. foongpc said...

    mei teng, I sometimes get a shock when there's a sudden thunder. But other than that, as long as I'm inside a building, I don't get too troubled by the loud sound of thunder. But if I'm outside, that's a different story! Haha!

    I think there's some truth in what your grandma said. If it's an open window, there's a chance the lightning may strike you. Better not stand too close to any windows! As for turning on the tap, it's a big No! Water and the tap conducts electricity. I would say just stay away from anything that conducts electricity during a thunderstorm.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:58 PM
  17. Borneo Falcon said...

    Once a thunder struck behind my house. Cause a blackout to my house and fry my modem (luckily did not fry my computer)

    March 18, 2009 at 3:00 PM
  18. foongpc said...

    eiling, haha! Hiding under the blanket sounds very warm and comforting during a thunderstorm! : )

    DC, thanks! : )

    gagay, thanks! Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get to be FC here one fine day! Keep trying! : )

    March 18, 2009 at 3:01 PM
  19. foongpc said...

    julian, I like thunderstorms too provided I'm in a safe place. Haha! With the tips here, I think you will be able to survive the lightning strike next time when you are out there...hopefully! : )

    gallivanter, you only know the car part? So with the tips here, I hope you will know how to prevent lightning strike if you don't have a car with you next time! : )

    nic, I can wish you luck but luck may not be on your side all the time. Stop jogging in the rain! If there's no lightning then OK, but if there is, better go to the gym instead. Otherwise I will not be able to look forward reading your blog *touchwood* : )

    March 18, 2009 at 3:09 PM
  20. foongpc said...

    nick phillips, yes please get your kids to read this. It is very dangerous to play in the park while there is lightning. If I am in the park and there's lightning, I will run like mad to the nearest shelter! : )

    lisalicious, yes a lot of cases of people struck by lightning in Malaysia. It's very dangerous. I always advise people not to go out in the open during a thunderstorm.

    TZ, wow! I love looking at pictures of lightning. Although they are dangerous and scary, they are actually very beautiful to look at! Next time during thunderstorm, get your camera ready and wait patiently to snap the photos! : )

    March 18, 2009 at 3:15 PM
  21. foongpc said...

    lina, yes it happened before and will happen again if people ignore the dangers of lightning. I'm quite surprised the Government did not warn the public about the dangers of lightning seeing that Malaysia has one of the highest records of lightning strikes in the world!

    Eh, ghost story out already? Oh, I will go and read it now! : )

    March 18, 2009 at 3:18 PM
  22. foongpc said...

    happysurfer, wow! Lost 2 TV sets caused by lightning? Should have learnt lesson the first time. Haha!

    Have never heard of lightning blowing off the roof top is to get rid of spirits, but if that is true, then I guess it's a good thing. Haha!

    borneo falcon, ooh! You are lucky the lightning spare your computer, man! For me, everytime there's heavy lightning, I will disconnect the modem and the computer. Even the TV and radio as well! I've lost my modem before to the lightning once, so once bitten twice shy! : )

    March 18, 2009 at 3:43 PM
  23. lina said...

    foong,
    spent a restless night yesterday, spooking myself while trying to compose the story in my head. Lucky we spent the night at FIL's house and not ours. I do not want to even think about ghost in the middle of night at my house! LOL

    March 18, 2009 at 4:32 PM
  24. [SK] said...

    out of the topic.. i am actually thinking how we can generate energy and power from those lightning, since we have so much?? hmmm, that would be interesting..

    March 18, 2009 at 4:48 PM
  25. Kitkat said...

    Scary... I will stay in my bed when it rains then. :)

    March 18, 2009 at 7:10 PM
  26. JL said...

    Very true, that's why I still flinch whenever I see people using umbrellas in a thunderstorm - they don't realise the danger they're bringing to themselves and nearby passers-by.

    BTW I've put up part 1 of my KL trip, take a look! :D

    March 18, 2009 at 8:10 PM
  27. keeyit said...

    Lighting strike let me remember the recent movie Benjamin Button about an old folk kena strike for 7 times le...

    March 18, 2009 at 9:05 PM
  28. Monica said...

    Interesting Foong! I usually hide under my blanket when lightning strikes :-D

    March 18, 2009 at 9:39 PM
  29. pikey said...

    Hmmm... I always like thunderstorm... the sound of raindrops, the loud bang of thunder, the cool environment....

    Well, I only like this kind of weather when I'm safely at home, not stuck in the middle of the highway.

    HAHAHA.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:36 PM
  30. 3POINT8 said...

    Did you know that Malaysia has one of the highest records of lightning strikes amongst the countries in the world?

    Wow, I never knew that. ahaha, we learn something new everyday, dont we?

    March 18, 2009 at 11:42 PM
  31. Irenelim said...

    I didn't know that Malaysia has one of the highest records of lightning strikes amongst the countries in the world! But how come? Is it because there is a lot of rain here?

    March 18, 2009 at 11:55 PM
  32. annant said...

    i didn't know that we can't use umbrella in lightning storm :S

    what should we use then? cardboard? :S

    March 19, 2009 at 12:16 AM
  33. Cashmere said...

    Malaysia highest really?? Okay, that I didn't know... Prolly due to the many open spaces there?

    March 19, 2009 at 7:13 AM
  34. jam said...

    No. 7 & 8 are interesting. Never heard of them before. Nice work!

    March 19, 2009 at 8:54 AM
  35. heidi said...

    I never knew a mobile phone was safe. Actually I never knew most of these. Very interesting!

    March 19, 2009 at 10:20 AM
  36. Life Ramblings said...

    i'm just too afraid of the big flashes of lightning.

    March 19, 2009 at 11:28 AM
  37. klhappysurfer said...

    Foong, sorry you couldn't gain access to my blog. I get this too once in a while lately and it's worrisome. But it's okay now. Pls try again. Tekkaus was able to access it a while ago. I probably need a new blog. Thanks for the shoutout.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:28 PM
  38. Jasmine said...

    Hmm... I think I like lightning... I think it's as orgasmic as having sex. Haha...

    March 19, 2009 at 4:36 PM
  39. Angie Tan said...

    My area has a lot of lightning activity, possibly due to the type of soil which attracts more lightning?

    Anyway, better be safe and unplug your modem or electrical equipment when the storm is very intense. I had my then brand-new DVD player kaputz after it got struck by lightning..

    March 19, 2009 at 4:55 PM
  40. engineer

    You can buy umbrellas that are made of bamboo and oil paper, remember those old fashion umbrellas? They don't attract lighting.

    The other alternative is buy umbrellas made out of carbon fibre (the same type of material as fishing rods). They do not conduct electricity and are very popular with golfers.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:30 PM
  41. foongpc said...

    lina, thanks for the scary post! I enjoyed reading it. Sorry you have to go through restless night to write the post. Lucky you didn't write it in your house. Haha!

    SK, we should think about that right? What a waste of resources. Haha!

    kitkat, well it's actually kinda comfy to stay in bed during lightning and thunderstorm : )

    March 19, 2009 at 7:03 PM
  42. foongpc said...

    JL, yes not many realise the dangers of carrying umbrellas in a thunderstorm. I have visited your blog and read your post. Look forward to your next post on the MDG : )

    keeyit haha! Yeah, very funny. I laughed every time the scene showing the old man talked about being struck by lightning. 7 times still survive! He must be the most unlucky or is it lucky man in the world? LOL!

    March 19, 2009 at 7:07 PM
  43. foongpc said...

    monica, hide under blanket during a thunderstorm sounds like a nice idea! : )

    pikey, me too! We are quite similar I think. I like karaoke and malay songs and rain and thunderstorms and so do you. Hehe!

    3point8, glad you learn something new here! : )

    March 19, 2009 at 7:10 PM
  44. foongpc said...

    irenelim, I also don't know why. I guess because Malaysia is located at the lightning zone. Well, lightning zone is better than earthquake zone or twister zone : )

    annant, haha! cardboard would be fine! Seriously, you can use umbrella that are made from materials that do not conduct electricity and also have no spiky metal tops. Or better still, wear a raincoat : )

    cashmere, actually Malaysia not highest, but only one of the highest. I think Singapore also have their fair share of lightnings, no?

    March 19, 2009 at 7:15 PM
  45. foongpc said...

    jam, thanks! Glad you learn something new here : )

    heidi, well now you know! Haha!

    life ramblings, I guess we are all afraid! But if you are in a safe shelter, watching the lightning flashes can be fascinating. They can be quite beautiful actually : )

    March 19, 2009 at 7:19 PM
  46. foongpc said...

    happysurfer, ok I will try again : )

    jasmine, haha! Never thought lightning to have that effect! : )

    angie tan, yes I agree better take precaution during lightning strike. I always disconnect all electrical appliances during thunderstorm especially my modem and computer : )

    engineer, thanks for the tips for alternative umbrellas! : )

    March 19, 2009 at 7:25 PM
  47. Merryn said...

    adui.. why so dangerous wan? n i tot umbrellas are safe! even the well-equipt water heater is not safe? sigh.. i was not really scared of lightning n thunder b4.. but now i AM! thanx to YOU! hahahaha..

    March 19, 2009 at 10:54 PM
  48. foongpc said...

    merryn, sorry if I made you a little paranoid of lightning. Actually, not so serious, just be careful and keep these tips in mind during thunderstorm : )

    March 20, 2009 at 1:19 AM
  49. Mariuca said...

    Hi Foong!!! When u gonna have a new post? I wan to chop!!!

    March 20, 2009 at 1:27 AM
  50. Mariuca said...

    Dropping EC here today, have a good one! :)

    March 20, 2009 at 1:28 AM
  51. foongpc said...

    mariuca, thanks for dropping EC! : )

    March 20, 2009 at 11:46 PM
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