Dr Karl Kruszelnicki says a Brisbane boy who suffered an electric shock while showering in a severe thunderstorm was unlucky, and that it was an anomaly.
The young boy was showering at his home in Ferny Grove in Brisbane’s outer north-west when wild storms hit just before 7pm (AEST) on Sunday.
Energex says at the height of the storm about 130,000 people were left without power after more than 265,000 lightning strikes and high winds.
Logan City is the worst affected area with 45,000 homes still without power, and a further 9000 in Brisbane and 2800 in Redland City, among other regions still not reconnected.
Forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Michael Paech said the storm had brought strong winds, but not much rainfall.
“The best rainfall figures we got were around 20 to 40 millimetres to the south and west of Brisbane, but across Brisbane itself, within that 5 to 15 millimetre range,” he said.
“[These winds] are considered damaging wind gusts. With the Bureau’s warning thresholds, anything greater than 90 kilometres per hour is considered damaging and we do see those in severe storms.
“But for Brisbane itself over many years we’ve seen winds higher than this.”
WATCH: Terrifying footage shows the Q1 Building on Queensland’s Surfer’s Paradise being struck by lightning during last night’s ferocious storm. 265,000 lightning strikes were recorded across south-east Queensland. #TenNews
READ MORE: https://t.co/9PJtODR1Ar pic.twitter.com/Wusr12haOJ
— TEN Eyewitness News (@channeltennews) February 12, 2018
Safe as houses, says Dr Karl
Paramedics who went to the home of the boy were told he’d suffered an electrical shock from a lightning strike and was taken to hospital in a stable condition, complaining of pain in his legs.
Dr Kruszelnicki says it’s possible the house wasn’t properly grounded, or that the lightning strike created an electrical field so powerful it spread in all directions and rendered the home’s grounding system useless.
“In general it is safe,” he told ABC radio of showering in a storm.
He said homes have earthing systems to deal with lightning strikes, providing a way for electricity to find its way safely into the ground.
“The earth of the electricity is tied to the earth of the water pipes, and then they both go into a big metal stake … that’s hammered into the ground,” he explained.
More storms, scorching temps expected
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting another round of gusty storms in the south-east later today after a scorching day of temperatures in the high 30s.
Senior forecaster Michael Paech said storms tended to be quite “hit and miss” but they were expecting another serve this afternoon.
“It’s very similar conditions for the south-east that are around today, very hot and there is some instability,” Mr Paech said.
Energex spokesman Justin Coomber said crews had worked through the night to restore power after widespread damage from the storms.
“That includes the power network where we’ve had a lot of tree branches impacting on to the powerlines so that’s causing widespread outages and we’re getting fresh crews in to really get into it today,” Mr Coomber said.
Mr Paech said strong wind gusts caused the damage to more than 500 power lines.
“Redcliffe picked up 109 kilometre an hour wind gusts with that storm and Redland also 107 kilometre per hour, and also around much of the city we saw some very gusty winds associated with it,” he said.
“The extreme weather event also caused disruption to Brisbane and Sunshine Coast trains services due to power outages and failing radio communications.”
Energex spokesman Ty Marega urged residents to be aware of hazards during the clean-up.
“Do not touch any electrical power lines that may have been brought down in the storm and in the event that they do see any fallen power lines, they should contact Energex,” he said.
— Alex Gregg (@AlexJGregg) February 11, 2018
– with ABC