Recently I was camping in the local mountains and while showering a storm blew in so I took a shower in a thunderstorm. Some people said it was very dangerous. The showers were basic structures outside.

Is it safe to take a shower outside during a thunderstorm?

  • 3
    Is it safe to be outside during a thunderstorm in general? There's always a risk, and yes, that risk increases if you stand next to or under a lightning rod. – ShemSeger Sep 7 '17 at 19:09

One of the basic principles of lightning safety is that you don't want to be the highest thing around and you don't want to be under something that is the highest thing around.

For example only one group has ever been struck while floating the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, but multiple people have been struck either on the rim or while sheltering under trees on the top.

Given that shower heads are usually higher than people, I would not want to be standing underneath one during a thunderstorm.

  • See Rafting Grand Canyon. – ab2 Sep 8 '17 at 1:30
  • @ab2 Interesting, the info I had stopped at 2012 – Charlie Brumbaugh Sep 8 '17 at 1:52
  • What about the electrical charge moving through the pipes (if metal) and/or the water? would a shower in basement, connected to a water tower on a hill top, be as dangerous as standing on the hill top? – James Jenkins Sep 8 '17 at 12:29
  • @JamesJenkins I don't know – Charlie Brumbaugh Sep 8 '17 at 16:43
  • @JamesJenkins No, the water tower and the pipes leading to your house are thoroughly grounded. The danger of using an indoor shower is from direct/very close strikes to the house that can induce current into the home's wiring and metal plumbing. – Carey Gregory Sep 8 '17 at 23:27

I'd say slightly dangerous, and probably more dangerous than other locations. You wish to avoid two things in thunderstorms. Places that are higher than the local area (50m-ish area) and "electrical earth".

A shower is a superb electrical earth, metal structure, with a better connection to "earth" than most protective earth setups. Just imagine the miles of pipes running below.

A shower is generally higher than you, but if the said shower was just next to the eiffel tower it wouldn't be much of a concern. Hard to say in your case. But I would probably, as a rule, avoid outdoor showers in a thunder storm. There is also the chance that there would be arcing in and between the shower pipes due to a lightning hit elsewhere, if it hit the water pipes. But now we are in the "really unlucky" part of the probability chart.


Given that it's not safe to be outside during a thunderstorm at all, and the showers were outside, the answer is clearly no.

There's really not much more to be said. This is basic common sense that you need to exercise a little more liberally while in the outdoors.

  • 2
    Insult the OP and I will downvote – Charlie Brumbaugh Sep 8 '17 at 1:14
  • 3
    @CharlieBrumbaugh Suit yourself. I didn't intend to insult. I intended to give potentially life-saving advice in strong terms. – Carey Gregory Sep 8 '17 at 4:28

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