Lightning rods offer some protection

Lightning

June 16, 2010 8:13:04 PM PDT
North Carolina boasts some of the highest lightning rates in the nation.

"What creates the lightning strike is the static charge that's generated by the ice crystals inside the thunderstorms rubbing up against each other, creating a friction, creating static electricity," explained Jeff Orrock with the National Weather Service.

Earlier this month, a hiker was killed by lightning in the mountains near Asheville. And in the last two weeks alone, there have been five high profile lightning strikes - including two on Sunday. One started a large gas tank fire in Greensboro, another fire destroyed a church in sims.

So aside from moving to another state, how can you protect yourself?

Experts say a properly installed lightning rod offers some protection. The heavy wire takes the charge into the ground, instead of through your house.

But there are no guarantees with lightning rods.

"When you're dealing with so much current, you will get electrical current bleeding out and bleeding over," explained Orrock.

And a bolt of lightning doesn't always need to hit the house to do damage to it.

"We've seen cases where it's hit a metal fence, and travelled along the metal fence, and come into the house," said Orrock.

But Orrock says lightning rods do limit risk.

You can find more information at:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream//lightning/lightning_intro.htm

www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

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