Did you know that lightning CAN strike the same place twice? ⚡

Lightning is likely to strike tall, isolated objects more than once

Lightning photo taken in San Antonio, sent in by Taylor Mcclelland via KSAT Connect. (KSAT)

We’ve all heard it before: “Lightning never strikes the same place twice.”

The truth is it can, and sometimes it does! Here’s a little bit more about why this statement that we grew up hearing is a myth:

Lightning is attracted to tall, isolated objects. Whether those consist of buildings, structures, or towers, they are more prone to multiple lightning strikes over time.

For example, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Empire State Building in New York City is struck by lightning approximately 25 times a year!

Other Lightning Myths

Here are some additional myths about lightning that you may not know:

  • Myth: A tree is a sufficient form of shelter during a thunderstorm.
    • Nope! In fact, this is one of the more dangerous places to be when there is lightning outside. More on suitable shelter spots can be found below.
  • Myth: Lightning doesn’t strike nearby if it’s not raining.
    • This is a dangerous myth, too! Lightning can travel through the high tops of clouds, meaning it can strike away from the actual rain part of the storm, and even if part of the sky is blue.
    • In fact, lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from the actual base of a thunderstorm!

Lightning Safety

When it comes to staying safe around an electric storm, the first thing to do is head indoors. A good saying to remember is: “When thunder roars, head indoors!”

The best places to go include a house or building with a sturdy roof or a car with a hard roof top.

Since lightning can also strike when a thunderstorm is in your vicinity and it’s not technically raining outside, it’s best to stay indoors until about 30 minutes after you last hear a thunderclap.

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About the Author:

Meteorologist Mia Montgomery joined the KSAT Weather Authority Team in September 2022. As a Floresville native, Mia grew up in the San Antonio area and always knew that she wanted to return home. She previously worked as a meteorologist at KBTX in Bryan-College Station and is a fourth-generation Aggie.