Lightning is a major cause of storm related deaths. A lightning strike can result in a cardiac arrest (heart stopping) at the time of the injury, although some victims may appear to have a delayed death a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage. Lightning can kill people or cause cardiac arrest. Injuries range from severe burns and permanent brain damage to memory loss and personality change. About 10 percent of lightning-stroke victims are killed, and 70 percent suffer serious long-term effects.
For all intents and purposes, nothing ‘attracts‘ lightning. It occurs on too large of a scale to be influenced by small objects on the ground, including metal objects. The location of the thunderstorm overhead alone determines where it will hit the ground.
Use the 30/30 rule! Go indoors if you see lightning and can’t count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
Typically, blue bolts within a cloud indicates the presence of hail. Red bolts within a cloud indicates the presence of rain. Yellow or orange bolts occurs when there is a large concentration of dust in the air. White bolts is a sign of low humidity or a little amount of moisture in the air.
“Cell phones, small metal items, jewelry, etc., do not attract lightning. Nothing really attracts it. It simply tends to strike taller objects,” said John Jensenius, a NOAA National Weather Service lightning expert. “People are struck because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It has the ability to strike a house or near a house and impart an electrical charge to the metal pipes used for plumbing. You’re safe in a car because the current will travel around the surface of the vehicle and then go to ground. This occurs because the vehicle acts like a Faraday cage.