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The scientific (and scary!) reason to skip showers and dishwashing during storms


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Photo: Stocksy/VeaVea

During a thunderstorm, there are a few well-known safety rules: Stay inside, but if you must be outdoors, refrain from holding metal rods and standing under trees. As long as you abide by those, you don’t have anything to worry about, right? Well, not quite: According to AccuWeather, you may want to be careful about which (health-improving) household chores you decide to fulfill while cooped up during those spring storms.

Stay away from all electrical appliances (laundry machines, dishwashers, etc.), and also anything that involves water to avoid electrocution.

John Jensenius, a lightning-safety specialist for the National Weather Service (NWS), said there are a number of other safety precautions you should take: For starters, stay away from all electrical appliances (laundry machines, dishwashers, etc.). But perhaps his most surprising recommendation is to also stay away from anything that involves water.

Washing your dishes, taking a shower, or doing anything that involves your pipes and water is a no-go. This applies even if your pipes are plastic, since water is an electricity conductor, which means the simple act of being in or near it could be dangerous. “Water can conduct electricity as well. We see that on the outside where lightning strikes something, and if there are puddles around, it can easily electrocute somebody nearby the puddle,” Jensenius says.

When should you practice these safety measures? According to Jensenius, the lightning-strike zone is 10 miles, so any time you can hear thunder, you’re in the danger zone. But AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski notes that if your house is built in a way that grounds electricity to separate rods that aren’t attached to the plumbing system, it’s a bit safer. To assess the grounding sich in your home, contact an electrician.

But in the spirit of being safe rather than sorry, maybe just consider stormy weather as an opportunity for an impromptu a meditation session with cozy candles.

For your spring cleaning, try these editor-approved spring cleaning products and ways to clean your home with lemons.

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