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Weather Library > Lightning FAQ: Does lightning ever hit water?

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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Yes. Lightning can hit water just as easily as it can on dry land. Since water is a good electrical conductor, current from a strike can travel far from the strike point. For this reason, swimming during a storm or while storms are nearby is dangerous. Another reason swimming during a storm isn't safe is because the swimmer is protruding from the surface of the water, somewhat increasing the probability of a direct hit from a nearby strike. If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, you should stay away from large bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Danny Phelps' web site has a picture of lightning striking water on the ocean.

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