Pool Safety During Thunderstorms and Lightning
In many parts of the US, ‘tis the season for stormy weather. Whether you’re experiencing a deluge of rain or dealing with that white stuff you have to shovel, stormy weather can really affect pool safety.
Swimming pool safety is of utmost importance during stormy weather that includes lightning. If you live in a warm climate that allows you to keep your pool open all year, there’s one scenario where it’s best to stay out of the water.
Here are some of the most important things to know about stormy weather and pool safety
Many people assume that it is safer to swim in their swimming pools than in the ocean during stormy weather. However, it is NOT safe to swim whenever lightning is expected, in any body of water. Even if the storm is several miles from your location, lightning can travel quickly. It can hit in areas unaffected by the rest of the storm.
Lightning typically strikes the highest object in its path. Anyone in the pool is the highest or tallest object in the water and is, therefore, the most likely target of the lightning strike.
What Happens When Lightning Hits Water?
Water is an excellent electrical conductor making it dangerous during episodes of lightning. Since water conducts electricity so well, there is no safe place in the water, or even near the water, during an electrical storm. Watch this dramatic video of lightning hitting the water.
An electrical charge doesn’t penetrate far into the water. Otherwise, there would be dead fish popping up after every storm. Instead, the charge spreads across the surface, discharging horizontally.
As for how far it can spread, estimates vary. The power of the bolt itself has an impact on the distance the current can travel, so it’s difficult to determine.