Weather Library > Lightning Myths

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
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The Lightning Myths article has been part of this site for over 19 years. There are many myths about lightning that have been accepted as common knowledge for centuries. New discoveries and evidence has proved many of these false, although many myths are still widely propagated through news media, word-of-mouth, the internet and even textbooks. The following list aims to debunk the most common misconceptions about lightning.

MYTH:
Wearing an Ipod and headphones will attract lightning.
MYTH:
A Surge Protector will protect against all lightning strikes.
MYTH:
Small metal objects attract lightning, and I'm safer outside without any metal nearby.
MYTH:
Lightning never strikes in the same place twice.
MYTH:
During a recent videotaped lightning storm, a strike showed up only inches/feet from my camera.
MYTH:
"Catatumbo lightning" is a unique type of lightning created by swamps.
MYTH:
Lightning only strikes very tall objects / Lightning always strikes the tallest object.
MYTH:
Lightning only strikes good conductors (such as metal).
MYTH:
Wearing jewelry, wearing shoes with metal cleats or carrying metal objects such as tripods, golf clubs and umbrellas will attract lightning and make me more susceptible to a strike.
MYTH:
Lightning rods 'discharge' a cloud and prevent a lightning strike / It is possible to 'drain' the charge from a storm.
MYTH:
Lightning rods attract lightning.
MYTH:
Lightning doesn't strike water.
MYTH:
Lightning could be used as a power source.
MYTH:
Rubber shoes or boots insulate and therefore protect against a lightning strike.
MYTH:
'Heat Lightning' is a strange phenomenon caused by hot weather.

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