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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Dangerous Is Lightning Really?

12/29/2021 (Permalink)

Can lightning damage my home?

During a storm, there are many factors that have the potential to cause serious damage to your house. Besides wind, rain, and falling trees, a few other things can cause damage. One big one?


You may have heard the phrase lightning never strikes the same place twice. However this statement isn’t always true, it often strikes in the same place if there is a tall pointed object. The Empire State Building has been said to be struck an average of 23 times a year!

Some people also believe that lightning is only dangerous during cloudy or rainy conditions, the truth is, it can reach more than three miles outside of a storm. Lightning has even traveled as far as 15 miles before it strikes the ground. That means that even if the storm is a few miles away, it is smart to seek shelter and prepare for the coming storm.

Another type of lightning that can be confusing is “heat lightning,” something thought to only occur on hot summer days. The truth about “heat lightning” is that it is actually from storms that are too far away to be heard. Often mountains, trees, or the curve of the earth can prevent you from seeing the actual storm or lightning, and instead, only the flash of the lightning is visible. The reason heat lightning is thought not to have the same sound as normal lightning isn’t because there isn’t noise, but because the source of the lightning is usually too far to be heard. 

Lightning is more than a loud noise during a storm, and a lightning strike to your Charlotte, NC, home, or business can cause fire and other serious damage. So what happens when lightning strikes your home?

Shock Waves: When lightning strikes your home, it can send a shock through the walls. Lightning can leave cracks in the walls, brick, stone, concrete, and in the fireplace. In some cases, there may even be cracks in your foundation after a lightning strike. 

Power Surges: One of the most commonly talked about damages caused by lightning is power surges. When lightning strikes your home it sends a large amount of power through the wiring in your home, often blowing fuses and causing damage to electronics. That power surge could cause a fault somewhere and start a fire right away, or later. 

Fire Damage: Not only can a fire start from wiring damaged during a surge, but it can also start from the lightning coming into contact with flammable objects. Your home is made from flammable objects like wood which can ignite when lightning travels through it.

So what does the damage to your home look like after a lightning strike? Your home could be completely fine with no damage at all, but not every situation is so lucky. Fires can start and spread in a matter of moments after the lightning strike. When the Charlotte Fire Department comes to help put out the fire you could be left with even more damage from the water. 

If your home experiences lightning damage and is left with fire or water damage make sure to call SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County.

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