I remember growing up and my mom always telling me to not take a shower while it was thunderstorming. I've done it a few times but I always try to keep the water not flowing over my body in case it ever did happen it wouldn't cross my heart and kill me.

So, can you be electrocuted while taking a shower during a thunderstorm?

  • You still would need to touch two different electrical potentials, e.g. the metallic shower head and the drain. However, in any good installation these parts are all electrical connected to each other and should be grounded. This doesn't leave much current to flow through you. So IMHO theoretical possible but unlikely. Almost impossible with a correctly build modern house (lighting rod on the roof, grounding plumbing, etc.). – Martin Scharrer May 30 '11 at 6:46
  • @Martin: Water is also a quite good conductor (unless it's chemically 100% pure). Tap water will never be so pure that it does not lead electricity. – awe May 30 '11 at 7:27
  • @awe: I know, but I don't think it will ever conduct as well as grounding wire. Like I said, it is possible but unlikely. It's also not so that the lighting will more likely hit your house just because you have a shower. It's much more likely to get hit by a car once you left the house. Did you mom also told you not to leave the house? – Martin Scharrer May 30 '11 at 7:47
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    @awe: Yes indeed, the water, not your body. See Tjarrt's comment below manojlds answer. It might happen, and normally people can wait until the storm passes before they shower, but I personally wouldn't be scared. The chances that your house is hit, your lightning rod fails (In Germany we have lighting rods on every house), the current really goes through your shower and not any other possible way (there is a lot of plumbing in a house and all holds normally water) etc. is so low that it is nothing to worry about. Sure it happened in the history of mankind, almost everything does.. – Martin Scharrer May 30 '11 at 8:04

Take a look at this document talking about lightning myths - http://newweb.wrh.noaa.gov/hnx/LightningMyths-1.pdf

You must avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as corded telephones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing (including plastic pipes with water in them), metal doors or window frames, etc.

Also from here: http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/can-lightning-strike-you-in-the-shower/

Metal is a good conductor, so if lightning strikes an unprotected house, chances are the current will travel through any metal pipes. What’s more, the tap water moving in these pipes contains impurities that help the water conduct electrical current.

When you’re wet, the natural resistance of your body is cut by half, and the salt and contaminants on your skin decrease your resistance further. So basically, being wet can make the difference between an unpleasant electrical shock and a deadly one.

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    Sooo, in other words yes it can kill you? – DeVil May 30 '11 at 7:34
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    A few years back I saw a program on discovery channel about people getting struck by lightning. One person who was wet survived because the lightning travelled along the outside of their skin instead of going through her body. struckbylightning.org – Tjaart May 30 '11 at 7:35
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    As referenced in this answer by tylerl you can be electrocuted, which can be fatal. As Tjaart commented, the current can run mainly through the water on the outside of your body, rather than through your heart (which would kill you immediately), but you would get enough shock that can lead to fatal outcome. – awe May 30 '11 at 8:08

It happens.

I'm sure there are more examples than just this, but these two examples were on the first page of search results. You don't have to look far.

In 2007

In 2008

  • One links to a store of a shock, not an electrocution. The other is a dead link. – xpda Oct 3 '13 at 4:30

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