I'm an expert – here's why washing the dishes during a thunderstorm could prove fatal | The Sun

BEING A Brit means you're probably used to weather that's a little bit unpredictable.

Over the last few weeks we've had temperatures up to 35C, followed by yellow thunderstorm warnings.

Rain and showers are set to continue in some parts over the weekend, with strong winds being felt particularly in the North West.

The Met Office states that more 'unsettled weather' is on the way next month and experts have now warned that you should be wary of housework during certain conditions.

When it thunders you should avoid standing under trees or near a window.

But scientists have now said that you should also steer clear of washing the dishes.

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Medics at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say people should avoid all water-based activities, including showering and dish washing.

This, they say, reduces your risk of being struck by lightening.

Physics lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, Dr James Rawlings said that this is because of the way a thunderstorm is activated.

Writing in The Conversation, he explained that there are two basic elements that help a storm thrive – moisture and rising air.

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"The high temperatures and humidity create large amounts of moist air that rises into the atmosphere, where it can form into a thunderstorm.

"Clouds contain millions of water and ice droplets and the interaction of these is what leads to lightning generation.

"The rising water drops collide with the falling ice drops, passing them a negative charge and leaving themselves with a positive charge," he said.

Dr Rawlings said that in a thunderstorm, clouds act as large generators, which separate positive and negative charges to create separation between the clouds.

As the clouds move over to earth, they generate an opposite charge in the ground.

This is then what attracts a lighting strike towards the ground.

While you might think that if you're inside then you're safe from harm, this isn't actually the case.

"If lightning strikes your house, the electricity would follow the path of least resistance to the ground.

"Things such as metal wires or water in your pipes provide a convenient conductive path for the electricity to follow to the ground.

"The shower provides both of those things (water and metal), making it an ideal path for the electricity to take.

"It could turn that nice relaxing shower into something much less relaxing," he said.

He explained that as well as staying away from water, you should also avoid leaning on concrete walls.

This is because some concrete can be reinforced with metal beams- which can in turn conduct lightning.

You should also avoid using anything plugged into an electrical outlet.

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Dr Rawlings added: "As a rule of thumb, if you can hear thunder in the distance, then you're close enough to the storm to have lightning reach you, even if there is no rain."

He said you should leave at least 30 minutes before showering or doing the dishes again.

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