Haiku man gets shock during Flossie lightning storm

By Cam Tran
Published On: Aug 01 2013 06:24:43 PM HST
Updated On: Aug 01 2013 07:37:47 PM HST

They say the safest place to be during a lightning storm is inside your house. So a Maui man is wondering how he got shocked inside his Ha'iku home during Monday's storm even though his house didn't have power. KITV 4's Cam Tran explains what may have happened and how you can avoid the same kind of shock.

HAIKU, Hawaii -

One flash after another, Flossie produced lightning which pierced the Maui sky on Monday.

"It was lightning and thunder right through.  The thunder wasn't even done and there was lightning and everything," said Haiku resident Mark Minobe.  "It was just, 'Boom, boom, boom, right through."

Worried about the storm, Minobe and his wife stayed inside their Haiku home.  When the power went out, the couple through they were safe at home until Mark got the shock of his life.

"I just finished eating dinner and took my bowl to the sink and I was going to fill it up with water," said Minobe.  "Just when I turned on the faucet that's when I got shocked.  I dropped to my knees.  I had no control."

"I was scared -- how come I'm getting shocked from a water faucet," asked Minobe.

According to Mike Cantin from the National Weather Service, you can get shocked even inside your home.

"What likely happeend is the lightning struck the ground and passed into some pipes underneath the ground and followed the pipes into the home and the individual got shocked," said Cantin.

Monday's storm produced more than 1,000 lightning strikes -- many of them rare and dangerous cloud-to-ground hits.

"Most of the time if it's an average thunderstorm, we get strikes here and there," said Cantin.  "But, we saw intense lightning.  Many strikes; many cloud-to-ground strikes in a short period of time in a concentrated area so your odds go up dramatically."

In pictures: Flossie hits Hawaii

Click here to see storm pictures of Flossie.

That's why to stay safe during any thunderstorm, Cantin recommends staying away from any water, even if you're indoors.

"We don't see it very often, but those pipes can conduct electricity from the outside into your home.  That's why we recommend staying away from faucets," said Cantin.  "Don't jump in the shower.  Don't jump in the tub.  Stay away from anything that's an electrical outlet or where electricity can funnel through them as well."

Static electricity can travel through the phone lines as well.  Cantin recommends not being on the phone -- even a cordless phone -- to avoid any static feedback.

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