PDA

View Full Version : Lightning & Swimming Pools



DanSad
June 28th, 2006, 09:51 AM
I recently moved from CT to NC and have noticed one of the differences between the two areas is the amount of thunderstorms. Typically they're in the afternoon so if you tend to swim during that time your workouts are either cancelled or cut short. The safety rules which require you to get out of the pool are true for both indoor and outdoor pools (I've overheard people question the guards why it applies to indoor pools and it got me to thinking). I'm assuming the electricity would conducted through pipes or metal in the building. Does the presence of windows make a difference? Also, the frequency of storms is such that I would think it would have a fairly big impact on the ability of teams to have consistent workouts. I remember coaches who would give people a hard time about getting out for 2 minutes to use the restroom, that seems to pale in comparison to missing huge sections of workouts several days a week due to thunderstorms. The rule seems to be that if there's a lightning strike you must leave the pool and wait 20-30 minutes before re-entering the pool. Where did the 20-30 minute time frame come from? One last hypothetical question, what if during the Olympic 1500m race there's a lightning strike? Do they tell the swimmers to stop and get out?

DanSad
June 28th, 2006, 09:55 AM
...I hope this didn't come across as me complaining about the rule which requires you to get out of the pool. I like swimming but not enough to risk my life.

geochuck
June 28th, 2006, 10:12 AM
Lightning can be scary. I was swimming accross Lac St. Jean 28 miles, ( Peribonka to Robervalle) after we got to the middle of the lake a thunder and lightning storm broke out and the waves we very big. The rowers accompanying me broke their oars and did not keep up with me. I did not know this had happened. But there I was alone no boat.when the storm blew over and I could see smoke coming from the lumber mill in Robervalle I started swimming towards the smoke, about 14 miles away. I was found by an airplane and a Yahct finally came up to guide me. I finished the race in not too bad a position. But the rest of the story makes me very sad.

aquageek
June 28th, 2006, 10:21 AM
This topic has come up a number of times on this forum and the discussion is always good.

There is a hypersensitivity to lightning. Being in the middle of summer league, I can attest to endless delays for thunder where you have a clear sky overhead and some storm many many miles away that never comes close. Most summer league teams will practice in the morning to avoid the weather.

Unless a pool building is grounded, they clear you out. Some indoor pools are grounded or have invested in lightning detection devices that only alert if a storm is truly near.

And, yes, they will clear the pool in the event of thunder/lightning, regardless of what is going on.

knelson
June 28th, 2006, 11:03 AM
Check this out: http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_info/lightningmaps/US_FD_Lightning.pdf

Just another example proving the west coast is the best place to live and to swim :)

aquageek
June 28th, 2006, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by knelson
Just another example proving the west coast is the best place to live and to swim :)

I'll take a few disruptions to swimming due to lightning and you can keep your 226 average CLOUDY days a year versus our 214 average SUNNY days a year.

thewookiee
June 28th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Gotta agree with Geek on this one. The west coast is ok to visit, for a few days, but I will take our sunny days anytime over cloudy ones.

:D

Dolphin 2
June 28th, 2006, 12:13 PM
Newer swimming pools (built in the last 30 years) are required to be equipped with lightning protection –IE- rods on the roof and grounding conductors that are tied to the reinforcing steel in the foundation. In addition, there are copper “bonding” cables that connect all metallic objects such as electrical conduits and plumbing to the lightning protection system so there’s no "potential difference" to create a shock hazard in the event that the building does get hit.

After an individual lightning protection system has been completed on a particular building site, the entire installation must then be certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

For more details, see this link:

Http://www.ul.com/lightning/

Happy Swimming

Dolphin 2
:D

knelson
June 28th, 2006, 12:53 PM
We get very little rain (much less than anywhere east of the Misssissippi) in the summer and the average temp is typically in the mid 70s. So how does that compare to North Carolina or Tennessee?

Actually I do miss thunderstorms, though.

Jeff Commings
June 28th, 2006, 12:56 PM
We're about to start our rainy season in Arizona, and evening workouts have been canceled all week. It really puts a crimp on your training.

geochuck
June 28th, 2006, 01:02 PM
We are really lucky in the Vancouver Area we never get rain or thunder storms, we only have Scotch Mist.

aquageek
June 28th, 2006, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by knelson
We get very little rain (much less than anywhere east of the Misssissippi) in the summer and the average temp is typically in the mid 70s. So how does that compare to North Carolina or Tennessee?

Compares very poorly. Summer is for sweatin'. It's in the 70s there because the sun can't break through the constant dreary overcast layer. Didn't you guys set some record this past year for some crazy # of days with no sun or rain or something?

knelson
June 28th, 2006, 02:30 PM
I think that was the record for most consecutive days with measurable rain. We didn't quite make it. I believe the record was 33 days and we fell short by a day or two.

We expect it to rain here in the winter. If you can't deal with that, yeah, you should move somewhere else. As a skier I'm happy because all that rain at sea level translates to copious amounts of snow in the mountains.

globuggie
June 28th, 2006, 02:33 PM
I actually enjoy the summer thunderstorms, as long as a) they're in the evening, not the middle of the afternoon, and b) they don't disrupt my plans for the day. Back when I swam summer league, it would thunder during at least half our meets, and we would have to sit there for an hour or so until it cleared up again. Or we would come back the next day and try again. A few times, a meet that was supposed to take four hours at most took three full evenings.

inklaire
June 28th, 2006, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
Compares very poorly. Summer is for sweatin'. It's in the 70s there because the sun can't break through the constant dreary overcast layer. Didn't you guys set some record this past year for some crazy # of days with no sun or rain or something?

Strangely, I don't mind having an electricity bill that averages less than $30 a month, year round, because I'm paying for neither cooling nor heat. I'll take a bit of summer cloud n' drizzle for that.

Of course, the fact that it is possible to exert oneself outdoors in our summers without suffering from hyperthermia probably has a lot to do with our pleasingly low obesity rate.

I heard some complaints because it reached 31 (88F) over the weekend. But it's 20 this afternoon and cloudlessly perfect. I don't remember having seen any rain for more than a month now. To me this is paradise. :)

mattson
June 29th, 2006, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
The rowers accompanying me broke their oars and did not keep up with me.

I've got this image of guys breaking their oars *trying* to keep up with George.

geochuck
June 29th, 2006, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by mattson
I've got this image of guys breaking their oars *trying* to keep up with George. The waves were very choppy their oars broke into pieces I don't think it was because I was swimming to fast.

Darth Vader
June 29th, 2006, 11:32 PM
Anyone ever seen a pool after it was hit by lightning?

Once when I lived in Tucson, the Student Union pool got hit, people told me the water turned yellow... the one day i dont go swimming and the pool gets hit. All my buddies were kicked out right before the lightning struck... i wish i had seen it. The Monsoon season in Tucson is fantastic. Imagine 25 bolts of lighting striking all at once all around you over & over.. used to shake the house
Geochuck, Scotch Mist? thats the best way to describe weather ive heard yet... the weather is quite Scotchish.
Vancouver is a great city...

geochuck
June 30th, 2006, 12:12 AM
Darth Vader

We very seldom get a suntan here, we just rust. We just had three days of sunshine which is unusual.

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 30th, 2006, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by Dolphin 2
Newer swimming pools (built in the last 30 years) are required to be equipped with lightning protection –IE- rods on the roof and grounding conductors that are tied to the reinforcing steel in the foundation. In addition, there are copper “bonding” cables that connect all metallic objects such as electrical conduits and plumbing to the lightning protection system so there’s no "potential difference" to create a shock hazard in the event that the building does get hit.

After an individual lightning protection system has been completed on a particular building site, the entire installation must then be certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

For more details, see this link:

Http://www.ul.com/lightning/

Happy Swimming

Dolphin 2
:D

No matter how grounded the pool is, if it has a door that opens to the outside, the door is opened during a lighting storm, the people in the pool can get shocked. I the pool has no opening to the outside and it is properly grounded, people can't get shocked. Now who will volunteer? We are supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon, if anyone is near Champaign/Urbana, IL.

geochuck
June 30th, 2006, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
No matter how grounded the pool is, if it has a door that opens to the outside, the door is opened during a lighting storm, the people in the pool can get shocked. I the pool has no opening to the outside and it is properly grounded, people can't get shocked. Now who will volunteer? We are supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon, if anyone is near Champaign/Urbana, IL. That is a very shocking scenario you are talking about.

dorothyrde
June 30th, 2006, 11:45 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
No matter how grounded the pool is, if it has a door that opens to the outside, the door is opened during a lighting storm, the people in the pool can get shocked. I the pool has no opening to the outside and it is properly grounded, people can't get shocked. Now who will volunteer? We are supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon, if anyone is near Champaign/Urbana, IL.

It is storming now, and I am heading to the Y soon....wish me look, it may be my last swim!:eek:

SearayPaul
June 30th, 2006, 11:11 PM
Our 50 meter indoor Y Pool was built about 1996. During the first year or two that the pool was open it was sruck by lightening. The Y had to replace one of the pump motors because of the damage.

This summer I have been on a terrible role of bad luck with storms and have had my workout canceled more times than I can remember. The pool staff even teases me when I show up to swim as they know a storm must be lurking somewhere close by. I always remember the previous strike and get out of the water with a smile for the lifegaurds when ever they blow their whstles.

This past weekend almost the entire Y meet was canceled when a lightening strike took out the power Friday night and all day Saturday. The problem could not be fixed until Sunday. Over 525 kids from all over the place were signed up to swim and probably were very disappointed. I think they swam 2 or 3 events on Friday before the storm, non on Saturday, and a few events on Sunday.

Have a great day

Paul

dorothyrde
July 1st, 2006, 06:58 AM
What a nightmare for the hosting club as well. That is too bad.

A.K.
July 1st, 2006, 09:19 AM
I remember when I was a kid our Coach got tired of us asking if the lightning was too close and should we get out.

We swam in an outdoor pool in Ft Myers Florida, and lightning was common.

Our Coach grabbed a long metal pool pole and stood on the lifeguard chair and proclaimed " if lightning hits it will hit me first now get swimming"

No more than 5 minutes later lightning hit the the parking lot next to the pool. I have never seen our Coach move so fast yelling for everybody to get out.

knelson
July 1st, 2006, 11:09 AM
I'm sure the dangers are real, but how many people actually get struck by lightning in a swimming pool? I bet the number is very low. Safety advocates could point to this being the result of evacuating the pool when there's lightning in the area, I suppose. Anyway, you hear about golfers getting killed all the time, but I've never heard of anyone getting electrocuted in a pool.

geochuck
July 1st, 2006, 11:24 AM
When I was a cop I was standing in a doorway of a store during a thunder storm. The lightning struck the building and the light show around the door was very exciting, sparks were flying and shooting accross the entry and I was very shookup. Later on that same evening I was walking the beat and that was the night I met my wife for the second time. Not only was I almost struck by lightning but was struck by love.

The store on the rigt side of this photo is the doorway I was standing in http://www.westdalevillage.ca/main.htm

dorothyrde
July 1st, 2006, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by knelson
I'm sure the dangers are real, but how many people actually get struck by lightning in a swimming pool? I bet the number is very low. Safety advocates could point to this being the result of evacuating the pool when there's lightning in the area, I suppose. Anyway, you hear about golfers getting killed all the time, but I've never heard of anyone getting electrocuted in a pool.

Because life guards are good at getting people out. I have been around an outdorr pool during a meet during some wicked storms, and believe me, I don't want to be near it. Golfers are more on their own, and it is easier for them to ignore the storm and stay out too long. That is why they get struck more.<Although our local course does go out and make people come off the course>