“Though the Tampa Bay area is sometimes referred to as the “Lightning Capital of the World”, it is more accurately called the “Lightning Capital of North America” if measured by average number of days with thunderstorm activity per year. During the summer, west-central Florida receives as much lightning as the world’s true lightning leaders such as the Lake Victoria region of Africa and the central Amazon River Basin. However, there are few thunderstorms in the Tampa Bay area from approximately October to May, decreasing the yearly average.
Every year, Florida averages 10 deaths and 30 injuries from lightning strikes, with several of these usually occurring in or around Tampa. University of Florida lightning expert Martin A. Uman has calculated that the average resident is within a half-mile of 10 to 15 lightning strikes every year. TECO Energy, Tampa’s electric utility, spends over millions of dollars annually to repair transformers and other equipment damaged by lightning strikes,” reports Wikipedia.
To back up our unofficial title of Lightning Capital of the World, our National Hockey team in Tampa are the Tampa Bay Lightning called the “Bolts”. Do we need to say any more about lightning and Tampa?
Lightning strikes to your roof
Most homes are built to withstand lightning strikes without having major damage. If lightning shoots through a home, there’s a risk for fire. The most common place for a fire to ignite is in the attic, when a lightning bolt comes through the roof or top of the house. The real damage can come from lightning traveling through conductive surfaces like wires and pipes in your home. It is important not to be close or touching any of those during a lightning storm.
“If your home is hit directly by lightning, your immediate concern should be for any fires that may have been ignited. Call the fire department! Again, the most common place for lightning-caused fires in a home is in the attic, but they can start anywhere the lightning has traveled. Some fires inside the walls and attic may not be immediately apparent and not easily accessible. You should also watch for falling debris from damaged chimneys, shingles or walls. You should also strongly consider contacting an electrician to have your home’s electrical system inspected for any damage that might present a future fire hazard,” warns StormHighway.com. You will want to contact a local roof expert to inspect your roof and attic to make sure everything is intact and no repairs need to be made.
WeatherImagery.com states that “the electricity produced by a lightning strike can travel through conductive surfaces such as wires and pipes within your house. If you happen to be touching one of these wires or pipes (think telephone, computer or shower) you can be electrocuted. Lightning is a master of trickery and can do some pretty strange things. Just remember though, the odds of you being killed by lightning inside a building during a thunderstorm are considerably worse than winning the Powerball lottery.
Lightning has no mass and defies the laws of gravity. It will zig-zag all over the place by going up, down, sideways, forwards and backwards. It travels great distances, sometimes as much as 70 miles! Adding to its mystique, lightning will travel along the path of least resistance, which can span hundreds of feet along conductive surfaces not quite visible to you or I.
Think about what runs into and all around the inside of your house. There are conductive copper pipes bringing the water into your house from outside. There are solid gauge copper wires leading to every wall outlet, light switch, and electrical appliance in your house that attach to a very tall utility pole or one of those large green boxes somewhere on your street. There are copper telephone wires running to every phone jack, again from a utility pole or some other metal box on your street. There are copper coaxial cables running from your satellite dish or cable TV provider. All of these things conduct electricity and start outside your house.
“This decade will go down in weather history as one of the wildest in modern times. Since 2010, we’ve seen both the widest and strongest tornado on record touch down in Oklahoma. Mexico felt the wrath of the strongest hurricane ever recorded in terms of wind speed. The American West is enduring a years-long drought with no end in sight. But it’s not all bad news. This decade is also on track to see the lowest number of lightning deaths we’ve ever recorded in the United States, and that’s quite the accomplishment. Lightning is an underestimated killer. We’re so used to thunderstorms that their presence is almost second nature unless they’re unusually strong.
Scientists estimate that we see about 16,000,000 thunderstorms around the world every year, and the United States alone averages about 22.5 million flashes of cloud-to-ground lightning in a typical year. That’s a little nerve-wracking when you consider that a single bolt of lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun and packs enough electricity that a direct strike to your body can stop your heart before you have time to react,” according to Mentalfloss.com.
A wise investment would be a lightning protection device such as a properly grounded lightning rod or surge arrestor. Plugging all of your electrical devices into a surge protector is a good suggestion. Having a properly ground fault wiring to your home is important as well. During a thunderstorm, it is important to not be near running water and electrical devices.
Let us help you with any of your roofing needs to keep YOU and your family safe!
No. 1 Home Roofing is proud to deliver quality service to its clientele in local communities, and therefore has years of experience in re-roofing and patching flat roofing systems.
No. 1 Home Roofing is a family owned and operated roofing company conveniently located on US Highway 19 in Palm Harbor, Florida. We are dedicated to providing top quality workmanship and materials to ensure that your new roof is done right. We specialize in shingle, tile, and flat roof installation, repairs, and maintenance. Contact us for an appointment and/or estimate at 727-781-7663.