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Author Topic: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?  (Read 17444 times)

Offline paulat

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Someone once told me that you should always keep your feet together when outdoors in a thunderstorm. Were they pulling my leg, so to speak, or is there a scientific grain of truth to this?


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #1 on: 04/01/2007 14:17:15 »
Only if you're standing on your head & don't want to get your underpants wet!  :D
 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #2 on: 04/01/2007 14:35:44 »
LOL!!
 

Offline FuzzyUK

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #3 on: 04/01/2007 23:45:36 »
Someone once told me that you should always keep your feet together when outdoors in a thunderstorm.

Yes, because if you are struck between the legs you will feel a tremendous *****!
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #4 on: 05/01/2007 00:26:58 »
WELCOME, FuzzyUK

There are now more of us "strange" people on the forum.

I might have said:

"it is always a good idea for women to keep their legs together outside because there are so many little critters you might drive to distraction by flashing them."
 

Offline moonfire

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #5 on: 05/01/2007 02:19:58 »
Hi FuzzyUK...welcome!  LOL  JimBob...you are so cute!!!
 

Offline DrN

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #6 on: 05/01/2007 21:40:53 »
ah: feet together. I thought you meant something else, what with the subject title being somewhat differently worded!
 

Offline DrN

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #7 on: 05/01/2007 21:47:17 »
If you stood on a live electrical cable with feet apart there would be a large potential difference, whereas if you stood with your feet together it would be a smaller potential difference. its the p.d. that kills you. electricity generally travels the path of least resistance into the ground, so lightening would presumably kill you when it went past your heart.

In this case would the best thing to be to lay on the ground in a thunderstorm?

 

Offline Mirage

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #8 on: 05/01/2007 23:32:13 »
I would say keep your legs closed, that burning sensation between the legs is not nice........ or so I've been told 
 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #9 on: 06/01/2007 03:01:26 »
 Let me tell you !! LOL ! It doesn't matter weather your legs are spread or together or not.. If you are in the right place with the right conditions, you are going down if that lightening hits you.. I have a cousin whom lives in New Mexico who has been struck by lightening several times.. I can remember the first time she was at a big kegger party  she was  about 17 years old. It was at night and she was Dancing in the back of a pickup truck in the middle of a thunderstorm. I don't know why, but the lightenstruck her and knocked her many feet backwards over the top of the truck .. They rushed her to the hospital, but she made it.. and survived, but she was hit two more times over the next couple years and Is still alive to tel of it! She is very storm shy at this point and avoids being close to windows or outside during storms.. Very lucky girl!!
 

Offline FuzzyUK

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Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #10 on: 09/01/2007 00:43:43 »
If you stood on a live electrical cable with feet apart there would be a large potential difference, whereas if you stood with your feet together it would be a smaller potential difference. its the p.d. that kills you. electricity generally travels the path of least resistance into the ground, so lightening would presumably kill you when it went past your heart.

Hi Fishytails,

It's not quite as clear as that. To quote a saying, 'It's volts that jolts, but mils that kills'. You could have an enormous big static charge whop you but the charge might only deliver a low and limited current. It's essentially a high current that can kill you even if the applied voltage is low. Anything over some 30mA flowing through you can stop your heart.

I once stepped over an electric fence in a field thinking it was inert only to get clouted on a certain part of my anatomy with a crucially timed electronically generated high voltage pulse. I survived because the current was limited, but it put me off the idea of romantic ventures in the open for good. I also feel uncomfortable if I happen to hear Jerry Lee Lewis on the radio singing, 'Great Balls of Fire' for some reason.

Fuzzy
 

Offline chris

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Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #11 on: 12/01/2007 09:04:59 »
This claim, that you should keep your legs together in a thunderstorm, isn't merely sage advice aimed at the inhabitants of Essex. I think it stems from farmers finding livestock dead in fields following storms. The animals chiefly affected tended to have had longer bodies, such as cows and horses.

The theory goes that when lightning strikes the ground the current flows away from the strike site across the surface down an electrical gradient. You can think of this as rather like a ball rolling down a hill where the ball is the current and the hill is the electrical gradient or "potential difference".

If you are standing on that metaphorical hill, with one leg higher up the hill than the other, then one leg is at a higher electrical potential than the other. This potential difference causes a current to flow through your body. If it's sufficiently large, it can kill you.

But if you stand with your legs together, both legs are at the same electrical potential and so very little current will flow. Cows don't know this, and also find it anatomically very challenging, so they turn into toast...or should that be roast beef?

(Do note, however, that if the lightning hits you directly, unleashing the full force of its 1-10 billion joule strike at a current of about 30,000 amps, the position your legs are in will be the least of your worries! This situation is usually universally fatal).

Chris
« Last Edit: 12/01/2007 09:06:34 by chris »
 

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Should you keep your legs together in a thunderstorm?
« Reply #11 on: 12/01/2007 09:04:59 »

 

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