An estimated 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occur annually across the U.S. Fascinating to watch, most Americans severely underestimate lightning’s property and life threatening potential -simply because it does not cause mass destruction. Is your home or property at risk?
Lightning strikes are reported to have resulted in 99,423 lightning claims totaling $790 million in 2015, with an average claim of $7,947 according to the Insurance Information Institute. Lightning also results in an average of 80 deaths and 300 lightning-related injuries annually, and is one of the leading causes of forest fires.
Are you in the strike zone?
Most lightning strikes occur over land (rather than oceans or bodies of water), - 70% in tropical regions. In the U.S., the thunderstorms which commonly result in lightning strikes are most likely to develop with spring and summer weather. However don’t let lightning fool you – it can occur year-round. The most frequent places effected include two thunderstorm-prone hot zones – both in the south:
- All of Florida up to the northern Gulf Coast.
- Oklahoma through eastern Kansas and north into southern Iowa.
Dangerous and damaging
Most property damage caused by lightning strikes is due to the huge surge of electricity that impacts your home during the strike. Common hazards associated with a lightning strike to your home include:
The air near a lightning strike reaches temperatures of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hotter than the surface of the sun. This puts your home at direct risk of fire, not to mention damage to the roof, pipes, electric, phone, and cable lines, gutters, downspouts, and other parts and pieces of your home as lightning opts for a more “convenient” route to ground than simply traversing the air.
- Power surges
At over one billion volts of electricity per strike, once inside your home, lightning can annihilate sensitive electronics and appliances – even jumping through the air in so-called “side flashes” to take out additional appliances or occupants in its path. (All or parts of bolts have been observed to JUMP across rooms inside flashes from one conductive path to another!) Even strikes that do not directly affect your home’s electrical system can experience enough of a surge for appliances to suffer significant damage.
- Shock waves
The rapid heating and cooling of air from the 50,000 degree strike results in a shock wave (thunder) that can be extremely destructive at close range, the boom easily fracturing essential structural materials like concrete, brick, stone, block, as well interior materials like plaster and glass. Lightning can even dig trenches in dirt, crack foundations, and embed strike-related shrapnel in walls!
Shocked by the amount of damage lightning can cause? If catastrophe strikes you from out of the blue, trust in the caring professionals at Rainbow International® to restore your world back to rights. Contact us today and discover a faster and easier path to storm recovery.