Elektrilevi advises that there are hidden dangers associated with lightning, which can be avoided


There are thunderstorms in Estonia about 20-25 days a year. What do we need to do to protect ourselves and our homes as much as possible in the thunderstorm?

The period of thunderstorms in Estonia extends from late spring to autumn. In fact, the intensity of the periods has shifted to earlier. Lightning can cause anxiety to people of Estonia from May to September.

It is important to be aware of the phenomena that accompany thunder in order to be prepared for its effects - heat wave, hail, torrential rain, strong winds and even tornadoes. The manifestation of some natural phenomena can be accompanied by insane destructive forces. For example, in Southern Estonia, some years ago there was a case where a tornado broke high-voltage overhead lines.

The golden rule says that no electrical work, under no circumstances should be performed during a thunderstorm. This is a primary safety requirement. When you hear thunder and see the lightning, its time to put the tools aside. A thunderbolt can give up to 200 000 amps. This is insane current. A standard light bulb only needs 0.3-0.5 amps to burn. A thunderbolt would therefore have a charge of up to 500,000 times more. It is probably not difficult to see how tragic the consequences can be.

Your home should be your fortress

You can do a lot yourself to be safer at home during a thunderstorm. When lightning approaches, it is advisable to unplug all electrical equipment. Don't forget to unplug phone chargers from wall outlets, even when you leave home. A cloud of thunder can reach dangerously close in a matter of minutes, and in the event of a close-up, the charger becomes a fireball, scattering the sparks in a moment. Your home and pets are at risk. Also disconnect the Internet data cables and the TV cables of older TVs.

We would like to remind you that you should always consider possible dangers related to thunder when building your home. Conscious action will help to prevent so many critical situations in the future. It is wise to install lightning protection systems in buildings. Attach long rods or traps to the house, which are located above the top of the building. It is recommended to use surge arresters in the living quarters, which reduce the huge energy charge associated with a thunderstorm. An external lightning protection system protects the house from fire, while surge arresters protect electrical equipment.

"A thunderstorm can be an uninvited guest no matter what we are doing. Whether we have a video conference, repairs, we are waiting in a que to book a vaccination appointment or something else. Better safe than sorry, " is the firm message of Mihkel Härm, Chairman of the Management Board of Elektrilevi.

Keep in mind that you should never do the following during thunder:

  • take a bath or go to a water reservoir outside (water is a good conductor of electricity);
  • make fire in fireplace (the warm air leaving the chimney and its charged particles act as a lightning rod);
  • create drafts (again, the warm airflow acts as a lightning rod);
  • make calls from a landline (making calls when connected to a data network is dangerous. There are two known cases in Estonia where a person was using a landline telephone during a thunderstorm and after a lightning bolt, there was a loud shot and the person became deaf from one ear);
  • go under trees and masts (tall trees and masts act like traps, lightning finds them more easily and hits them more likely);
  • move on an open field (lightning can hit you more easily).
  • Good to know:

  • If the thunderbolt has a choice of which tree to "land in", the most likely victim of deciduous trees is oak and of conifers its spruce - both of the trees have their roots scattered along the ground, providing plenty of connection points for lightning strikes;
  • How to calculate the proximity of a thunderstorm?
    The speed of light propagation in a vacuum is almost 300,000 m/s. The speed of sound propagation in the air is about 340 m/s. If it thunders three seconds after the flash, thunder is about 1 kilometre away. This is a dangerous distance; thunder can strike a lightning bolt every kilometre
  • About 100 thunder bolts flash on the Earth every second;
  • A car is a safe place during a thunderstorm. Whether standing or moving. When the lightning strikes, the charge moves from the outside of the car through the wet tires to the ground, nothing can be felt inside the machine;
  • An average, decent thunder cloud contains as much energy as a couple of atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima;
  • The thunderbolt temperature is about 3,000 degrees Celsius, or a little more.