Why Can’t We Swim When it Thunderstorms?

In this unit, we learned about electrostatic forces, electric potential energy, fields, and electric potential. Electrostatic force is a non-contact force causing the attraction or repulsion of charges within objects. We had somewhat touched on this last year, but we learned to use it within objects instead of just point like objects. Electric potential energy was a new concept for us to learn, and we struggled with the idea of negative energy at first, but after some practice we have become pros at it! Fields are electric potential are disturbances that a charged object creates in the surrounding region. These concepts are the reason we can’t swim when there is lightning. When lightning strikes water, a conductor, it disperses horizontally to evenly spread out the huge amount of excess charge, reaching a swimmer in the process. Swimmers who have been severely injured by lightning strikes were close to the surface and near the spot of impact. Since pools are not that large in surface area, swimming in one when lightning strikes would almost guarantee that you would be affected in some way. Therefore, it is essential to avoid being in, on, or near a body of water during a thunderstorm.

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