Tennessee Ranks High For Lightning Damage Costs

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Tennessee Ranks High For Lightning Damage Costs

CREATED Jun 24, 2014
by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A survey by a national insurance company ranked Tennessee in the top ten states for the number of claims for damaged caused by lightning.

State Farm Insurance said Tennessee was number six on its list with 1,050 claims, totaling $5,649,955 in damage.

Georgia led the nation in claims resulting from lightening in 2013 with nearly $15 million paid out, according to State Farm.

Lightning can cause damage to many areas of your home and property.

“I've seen it blow holes in water pipes, allow Freon to escape from air conditioners, blow the electrical panels up, actually set the house on fire,” said Jerry Bone, owner of Westside Electric Service in Nashville.

Many times a lightning strike causes a power surge to run through electrical lines inside a building, or home.

Plugging electronics into a surge protector is one way to try and avoid damage.

“It's very hard to defeat lightning, it's so fast. But they do a good job,” Bone said. “But they don't always work, they have limitations.”

Bone said if you are home during a lightning storm and have valuable electronics, there really is only one way to protect them.

“Unplug it. If you like it, unplug it. Anything you particularly care about, electronics, computers,” Bone said.

Lightning rods are another way to draw the power of a strike away from buildings. But the dwelling does not need to take a direct hit for the lightning’s energy to find its way inside.

“We've documented cases where it will strike a tree and follow the tree roots, or it can follow any kind of electrical wiring, it can follow that. There are several ways in that lightning can find,” said Mark Rose, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Nashville office.

There is a popular myth that lightning never strikes twice, but the fact is it can strike the same place repeatedly, especially if it is a tall, pointy, isolated object.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com