News 6 meteorologist warns people can get struck by lightning inside their home

Indoor swimming pools, showers, tubs and phones pose risks

ORLANDO, Fla. – When you hear thunder or see lightning, most people know to seek cover. But, even once you are indoors, you may still be at risk, depending on what you are doing.

Rick M. sent in this question for News 6 chief meteorologist Tom Sorrells to answer on his weekly weather show, Talk to Tom.

“Do you recommend people leave an indoor swimming pool when lightning is in the area? If so, how close?” he asked.

Sorrells responded with an answer that may surprise some.

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“Yeah, I would say get out of that pool. For the same reason you don’t want to take a shower during a heavy thunderstorm, you don’t want to sit in a bubble bath in your bathtub during a thunderstorm, and you don’t want to be on a landline phone,” Sorrells said. “You can be on your cell phone inside your house, but you can’t be on a landline phone during a thunderstorm, or you shouldn’t be, because if you do, you run the risk of being struck by lightning.”

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Sorrells went on to explain how you can get struck by lightning while inside your house.

“Anytime your house is struck by lightning, or your yard is struck by lightning, or maybe the plumbing, it runs through the plumbing, can disperse through your house, come right up, right into your bathtub, or right into your shower,” he said.

The Talk to Tom host went on to say parents need to beware of the risks if their children play water polo.

“I’ve been at water polo games where they had to pull kids out of the water, down at the Aquatics Center on (International Drive) during a big thunderstorm to get the kids out of the water,” Sorrells said. “We shut it down. They sure do for safety reasons. Absolutely. You can never be assured that the lightning won’t hit the building, or won’t hit outside or hit the building tracking the plumbing and get the kids in the pool. So get out of the indoor pool. Yep, I’d say shut her down.”

When it comes to proximity, Sorrells said he would exercise caution and shut down any indoor water event if storms are within 8 miles.

“The term that we always use is, ‘If you can hear it, fear it. If you see it, you gotta flee it.’ So if it’s within five miles, absolutely, if it’s within eight, I still would shut it down. I don’t feel safe if it’s within 10 (miles),” he said.

If you are wondering when you can get back in the water, Sorrells recommends to “wait ‘til 30 minutes after the last lightning strike, at least the last rumble of thunder, before you get back in.”

He also recommends taking advantage of a free tool that can help you stay abreast of what’s going on in real time.

He said the WKMG Weather App is like having a “radar and lightning tracker in your pocket.” If you would like to download, it you can find it in the App Store for free.

If you have a question you would like to submit for News 6 chief meteorologist Tom Sorrells to answer on Talk to Tom, you can do so here.

You can watch Talk to Tom every Thursday on News 6 at 5:30pm or anytime on the News 6+ app.

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About the Author:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.