The Claim: Never Bathe or Shower in a Thunderstorm

The story seems too bizarre to be true and has the ring of an urban legend. According to experts, taking a shower during a lightning storm will not electrocute you.

A bolt of lightning striking a house or building can travel through plumbing, into metal pipes, and shock anyone who comes into contact with a faucet or appliance – even one that is protected against severe weather.

Pipes made of metal are not only excellent conductors of electricity, but they also carry water laden with impurities that aid in the conductivity of the current.

This type of harm is extremely unlikely to occur in the real world. There have been cases of this, but they are not uncommon. According to Ron Holle, a former meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who tracks lightning injuries, 10 to 20 people are shocked annually while bathing, using faucets or handling appliances during storms. “There are a lot of myths about lightning,” he said, “but this is not one of them.”

A protected building acts like a metal cage during a storm. A lightning strike conducts electricity around you and eventually dissipates into the ground. Unless you touch something connected to plumbing, electrical wiring, or another conducting path, there is no real risk.

The Lightning Injury Research Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago is run by Doctor, who said people have been shocked and even killed while washing dishes, doing laundry, and sitting in bathtubs during storms. On, you can find a database of these incidents.

The bottom line is that lightning can travel through plumbing and shock people.

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